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Vol- IX. 
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M diligently cutting and shaping, and I as diligently 

stitching. We leave a good supply for the hospitals, and 
for the individual clients besides who have besieged rue 
ever since my departure became imminent. 

Our voyage from the rice to the cotton plantation was 
performed in the Lily, which looked like a soldier's bag- 
gage-wagon and an emigrant transport combined. Our 
crew consisted of eight men. Forward in the bow were 
miscellaneous live-stock, pots, pans, household furniture, 
kitchen utensils, and an indescribable variety of hetero- 
geneous necessaries. Enthroned upon beds, bedding, ta- 
bles, and other chattels, sat that poor pretty chattel 
Psyche, with her small chattel children. Midships sat 
the two tiny free women and myself, and in the stern Mr. 

steering. And " all in the blue unclouded weather" 

we rowed down the huge stream, the men keeping time 
and tune to their oars with extemporaneous chants of 
adieu to the rice-island and its denizens. Among other 
poetical and musical comments on our departure recurred 
the assertion, as a sort of burden, that we were " parted 
in body, but not in mind," from those we left behind. 
Having relieved one set of sentiments by this reflection, 
they very wisely betook themselves to the consideration 
of the blessings that remained to them, and performed a 
spirited chant in honor of Psyche and our bouncing black 
housemaid, Mary. 

At the end of a fifteen miles' row we entered one among 
a perfect labyrinth of arms or branches, into which the 
broad river ravels like a fringe as it reaches the sea, a dis- 
mal navigation along a dismal tract, called " Five Pound," 
through a narrow cut or channel of water divided from 
the main stream. The conch was sounded, as at our arri- 
val at the rice-island, and we made our descent on the 
famous long staple cotton island of St. Simon's, where we 
presently took up our abode in what had all the appear- 
ance of an old, half-decayed, rattling farm-house. 


This morning, Sunday, I peeped round its immediate 
neighborhood, and saw, to my inexpressible delight, with- 
in hail, some noble-looking evergreen oaks, and close to 
the house itself a tiny would-be garden, a plot of ground 
with one or two peach-trees in full blossom, tufts of silver 
narcissus and jonquils, a quantity of violets and an exqui- 
site myrtle bush ; wherefore I said my prayers with es- 
pecial gratitude. 

Deaeest E , — The fame of my peculiar requisitions 

has, I find, preceded me here, for the babies that have been 
presented to my admiring notice have all been without 
caps ; also, however, without socks to their opposite little 
wretched extremities, but that does not signify quite so 
much. The people, too, that I saw yesterday were re- 
markably clean and tidy ; to be sure, it was Sunday. The 
whole day, till quite late in the afternoon, the house was 
surrounded by a crowd of our poor dependents, waiting 

to catch a glimpse of Mr. , myself, or the children ; 

and until, from sheer weariness, I was obliged to shut the 
doors, an incessant stream poured in and out, whose vari- 
ous modes of salutation, greeting, and welcome were more 
grotesque and pathetic at the same time than any thing 

you can imagine. In the afternoon I walked with to 

see a new house in process of erection, which, when it is 
finished, is to be the overseer's abode and our residence 
during any future visits we may pay to the estate. I was 
horrified at the dismal site selected, and the hideous house 
erected on it. It is true that the central position is the 
principal consideration in the overseer's location ; but both 
position and building seemed to me to witness to an invet- 
erate love of ugliness, or, at any rate, a deadness to every 
desire of beauty, nothing short of horrible; and, for my 
own part, I think it is intolerable to have to leave the 


point where the waters meet, and where a few fine pictur- 
esque old trees are scattered about, to come to this place 
even for the very short time I am ever likely to spend 

In every direction our view, as we returned, was bound- 
ed by thickets of the most beautiful and various evergreen 
growth, which beckoned my inexperience most irresisti- 
bly. said, to my unutterable horror, that they were 

perfectly infested with rattlesnakes, and I must on no ac- 
count go " beating about the bush" in these latitudes, as 
the game I should be likely to start would be any thing 
but agreeable to me. We saw quantities of wild plum- 
trees all silvery with blossoms, and in lovely companion- 
ship and contrast with them a beautiful shrub covered 
with delicate pink bloom like flowering peach-trees. Aft- 
er that life in the rice-swamp, where the Altamaha kept 
looking over the dike at me all the time as I sat in the 
house writing or working, it is pleasant to be on terra 
Jirma again, and to know that the river is at the conven- 
tional, not to say natural, depth below its banks, and un- 
der my feet instead of over my head. The two planta- 
tions are of diametrically opposite dispositions — that is all 
swamp, and this all sand ; or, to speak more accurately, 
that is all swamp, and all of this that is not swamp is sand. 

On our way home we met a most extraordinary crea- 
ture of the negro kind, who, coming toward us, halted, 
and caused us to halt straight in the middle of the path, 
when, bending himself down till his hands almost touched 

the ground, he exclaimed to Mr. , " Massa , your 

most obedient ;" and then, with a kick and a flourish al- 
together indescribable, he drew to the side of the path to 
let us pass, which we did perfectly shouting with laugh- 
ter, which broke out again every time w r e looked at each 
other and stopped to take breath : so sudden, grotesque, 
uncouth, and yet dexterous a gambado never came into 


the brain or out of the limbs of any thing but a " nig- 

I observed, among the numerous groups that we passed 
or met, a much larger proportion of mulattoes than at the 

rice-island ; upon asking Mr. why this was so, he said 

that there no white person could land without his or the 
overseer's permission, whereas on St. Simon's, which is a 
large island containing several plantations belonging to 
different owners, of course the number of whites, both re- 
siding on and visiting the place, was much greater, and 
the opportunity for intercourse between the blacks and 
whites much more frequent. While we were still on this 
subject, a horrid-looking filthy woman met us with a little 
child in her arms, a very light mulatto, whose extraordi- 
nary resemblance to Driver Bran (one of the officials who 
had been duly presented to me on my arrival, and who 
was himself a mulatto) struck me directly. I pointed it 

out to Mr. , who merely answered, " Very likely his 

child." " And," said I, " did you never remark that Driver 

Bran is the exact image of Mr. K ?" " Very likely 

his brother," was the reply : all which rather unpleasant 
state of relationships seemed accepted as such a complete 
matter of course, that I felt rather uncomfortable, and said 
no more about who was like who, but came to certain con- 
clusions in my own mind as to a young lad who had been 
among our morning visitors, and whose extremely light 
color and straight, handsome features and striking resem- 
blance to Mr. K had suggested suspicions of a rather 

unpleasant nature to me, and whose sole-acknowledged 
parent was a very black negress of the name of Minda. I 
have no doubt at all, now, that he is another son of Mr. 
K , Mr. 's paragon overseer. 

As we drew near the house again we were gradually 

joined by such a numerous escort of Mr. 's slaves 

that it was almost with difficulty we could walk along the 


path. They buzzed, and hummed, and swarmed round us 
like flies, and the heat and dust consequent upon this 
friendly companionship were a most unpleasant addition 
to the labor of walking in the sandy soil through which 
we were plowing. I was not sorry when we entered the 
house and left our body-guard outside. In the evening I 
looked over the plan of the delightful residence I had vis- 
ited in the morning, and could not help suggesting to Mr. 

the advantage to be gained in point of picturesque- 

ness by merely turning the house round. It is but a 
wooden frame one after all, and your folks " down East" 
would think no more of inviting it to face about than if 
it was built of cards ; but the fact is, here nothing signi- 
fies except the cotton crop, and whether one's nose is in a 
swamp and one's eyes in a sand-heap is of no consequence 
whatever either to one's self (if one's self was not I) or 
any one else. 

I find here an immense proportion of old people ; the 
work and the climate of the rice plantation require the 
strongest of the able-bodied men and women of the estate. 
The cotton crop is no longer by any means as paramount 
in value as it used to be, and the climate, soil, and labor 
of St. Simon's are better adapted to old, young, and feeble 
cultivators than the swamp fields of the rice-island. I 
wonder if I ever told you of the enormous decrease in 
value of this same famous sea-island long staple cotton. 

When Major , Mr. 's grandfather, first sent the 

produce of this plantation where we now are to England, 
it was of so fine a quality that it used to be quoted by it- 
self in the Liverpool cotton market, and was then worth 
half a guinea a pound ; it is now not worth a shilling a 
pound. This was told me by the gentleman in Liverpool 
who has been factor for this estate for thirty years. Such 
a decrease as this in the value of one's crop, and the steady 
increase at the same time of a slave population, now num.- 


bering between 700 and 800 bodies to clothe and house, 
mouths to teed, while the land is being exhausted by the 

careless and wasteful nature of the agriculture itself, sug- 
gests a pretty serious prospect of declining prosperity ; 
and, indeed, unless these Georgia cotton-planters can com- 
mand more land, or lay abundant capital (which they have 
not, being almost all of them over head and ears in debt) 
upon that which has already spent its virgin vigor, it is a 
very obvious thing that they must all very soon be eaten 
up by their own property. The rice plantations are a 
great thing to fall back upon under these circumstances, 
and the rice crop is now quite as valuable, if not more so, 

than the cotton one on Mr. 's estates, once so famous 

and prosperous through the latter. 

I find any number of all but superannuated men and 
women here, whose tales of the former grandeur of the 
estate and family are like things one reads of in novels. 
One old woman, who crawled to see me, and could hardly 
lift her poor bowed head high enough to look in my face, 

had been in Major 's establishment in Philadelphia, 

and told with infinite pride of having waited upon his 

daughters and granddaughters, Mr. 's sisters. Yet 

here she is, flung by like an old rag, crippled with age and 
disease, living, or rather dying by slow degrees in a mis- 
erable hovel, such as no decent household servant would 
at the North, I suppose, ever set their foot in. The poor 
old creature complained bitterly to me of all her ailments 
and all her wants. I can do little, alas ! for either. I had 
a visit from another tottering old crone called Dorcas, who 
all but went on her knees as she wrung and kissed my 
hands ; with her came my friend Molly, the grandmother 
of the poor runaway girl Louisa, whose story I wrote you 
some little time ago. I had to hear it all over again, it 
being the newest event evidently in Molly's life ; and it 
ended as before with the highly reasonable proposition : 


" Me say, missis, what for massa's niggar run away ? Snake 
eat 'em up, or dey starve to olefin a swamp. Massa's nig- 
gars dey don't neber run away." If I was " massa's nig- 
gars," I " spose" I shouldn't run away either, with only 
those alternatives ; but when I look at these wretches and 
at the sea that rolls round this island, and think how near 
the English West Indies and freedom are, it gives me a 
pretty severe twinge at the heart. 

Dearest E , — I am afraid my letters must be be- 
coming very wearisome to you ; for if, as the copy-book 
runs, " Variety is charming," they certainly can not be so 
unless monotony is also charming, a thing not impossible 
to some minds, but of which the copy-book makes no men- 
tion. But what will you ? as the French say ; my days 
are no more different from one another than peas in a 
dish, or sands on the shore : 'tis a pleasant enough life to 
live for one who, like myself, has a passion for dullness, 
but it affords small matter for epistolary correspondence. 
I suppose it is the surfeit of excitement that I had in my 
youth that has made a life of quiet monotony so extreme- 
ly agreeable to me ; it is like stillness after loud noise, 
twilight after glare, rest after labor. There is enough 
strangeness, too, in every thing that surrounds me here to 
interest and excite me agreeably and sufficiently, and I 
should like the wild savage loneliness of the far away ex- 
istence extremely if it were not for the one small item of 
" the slavery." 

I had a curious visit this morning from half a dozen 
of the women, among whom were Driver Morris's wife 
and Venus (a hideous old gooddess she was, to be sure), 
Driver Bran's mother. They came especially to see the 
children, who are always eagerly asked for, and hugely 
admired by their sooty dependents. These poor women 


went into ecstasies over the little white pickaninnies, and 
were loud and profuse in their expressions of gratitude to 

Massa for getting married and having children, a 

matter of thankfulness which, though it always makes me 
laugh very much, is a most serious one to them ; for the 
continuance of the family keeps the estate and slaves from 
the hammer, and the poor wretches, besides seeing in every 
new child born to their owners a security against their 
own banishment from the only home they know, and sep- 
aration from all ties of kindred and habit, and dispersion 
to distant plantations, not unnaturally look for a milder 
rule from masters who are the children of their fathers' 
masters. The relation of owner and slave may be ex- 
pected to lose some of its harsher features, and, no doubt, 
in some instances, does so, when it is on each side the in- 
heritance of successive generations. And so 's slaves 

laud, and applaud, and thank, and bless him for having 
married, and endowed their children with two little future 
mistresses. One of these women, a Diana by name, went 
down on her knees, and uttered in a loud voice a sort of 
extemporaneous prayer of thanksgiving at our advent, in 
which the sacred and the profane were most ludicrously 
mingled : her " tanks to de good Lord God Almighty that 
missus had come, what give de poor niggar sugar and flan- 
nel," and dat " Massa , him hab brought de missis and 

de two little misses down among de people," were really 
too grotesque, and yet certainly more sincere acts of thanks- 
giving are not often uttered among the solemn and decor- 
ous ones that are offered up to heaven for " benefits re- 

I find the people here much more inclined to talk than 
those on the rice-island; they have less to do and more 
leisure, and bestow it very liberally on me ; moreover, the 
poor old women, of whom there are so many turned out 
to grass here, and of whom I have spoken to you before, 


though they are past work, are by no means past gossip, 
and the stones they have to tell of the former government 

of the estate under old Massa K are certainly pretty 

tremendous illustrations of the merits of slavery as a moral 
institution. This man, the father of the late owner, Mr. 

Ii K , was Major 's agent in the management 

of this property, and a more cruel and unscrupulous one 
as regards the slaves themselves, whatever he may have 
been in his dealings with the master, I should think it 
would be difficult to find, even among the cruel and un- 
scrupulous class to which he belonged. 

In a conversation with old "House Molly," as she is 
called, to distinguish her from all other Mollies on the es- 
tate, she having had the honor of being a servant in Ma- 
jor 's house for many years, I asked her if the rela- 
tion between men and women who are what they call mar- 
ried, *. e., who have agreed to live together as man and 
wife (the only species of marriage formerly allowed on the 
estate, I believe now London may read the Marriage Serv- 
ice to them), was considered binding by the people them- 
selves and by the overseer. She said " not much former- 
ly," and that the people couldn't be expected to have 
much regard to such an engagement, utterly ignored as 

it was by Mr. K , whose invariable rule, if he heard of 

any disagreement between a man and woman calling them- 
selves married, was immediately to bestow them in " mar- 
riage" on other parties, whether they chose it or not, by 
which summary process the slightest " incompatibility of 
temper" received the relief of a divorce more rapid and 
easy than even Germany could afford, and the estate lost 
nothing by any prolongation of celibacy on either side. 
Of course, the misery consequent upon such arbitrary de- 
struction of voluntary and imposition of involuntary ties 
was nothing to Mr. K . 

I was very sorry to hear to-day that Mr. O , the 


overseer at the rice-island, of whom I have made mention 
to you more than once in my letters, had had one of the 
men flogged very severely for getting his wife baptized. 
I was quite unable, from the account I received, to under- 
stand what his objection had been to the poor man's de- 
sire to make his wife at least a formal Christian; but it 
does seem dreadful that such an act should be so visited. 
I almost wish I was back again at the rice -island; for, 
though this is every way the pleasanter residence, I hear 
so much more that is intolerable of the treatment of the 
slaves from those I find here, that my life is really made 
wretched by it. There is not a single natural right that 
is not taken away from these unfortunate people, and the 
worst of all is, that their condition does not appear to me, 
upon farther observation of it, to be susceptible of even 
partial alleviation as long as the fundamental evil, the sla- 
very itself, remains. 

My letter was interrupted as usual by clamors for my 
presence at the door, and petitions for sugar, rice, and 
baby-clothes from a group of women who had done their 
tasks at three o'clock in the afternoon, and had come to 
say, "Ha do, missis ?" (How do you do ?), and beg some- 
thing on their way to their huts. Observing one among 
them whose hand was badly maimed, one finger being re- 
duced to a mere stump, she told me it was in consequence 
of the bite of a rattlesnake, w r hich had attacked and bitten 
her child, and then struck her as she endeavored to kill 
it ; her little boy had died, but one of the drivers cut off 
her finger, and so she had escaped with the loss of that 
member only. It is yet too early in the season for me to 
make acquaintance with these delightful animals, but the 
accounts the negroes give of their abundance is full of 
agreeable promise for the future. It seems singular, con- 
sidering how very common they are, that there are not 
more frequent instances of the slaves being bitten by 


them ; to be sure, they seem to me to have a holy horror 
of ever setting their foot near either tree or bush, or any 
where but on the open road and the fields where they la- 
bor ; and, of course, the snakes are not so frequent in open 
and frequented places as in their proper coverts. The 
Red Indians are said to use successfully some vegetable 
cure for the bite, I believe the leaves of the slippery ash 
or elm ; the only infallible remedy, however, is suction, but 
of this the ignorant negroes are so afraid that they nev- 
er can be induced to have recourse to it, being, of course, 
immovably persuaded that the poison which is so fatal to 
the blood must be equally so to the stomach. They tell 
me that the cattle wandering into the brakes and bushes 
are often bitten to death by these deadly creatures ; the 
pigs, whose fat, it seems, does not accept the venom into 
its tissues with the same effect, escape unhurt for the most 
part — so much for the anti-venomous virtue of adipose 
matter — a consolatory consideration for such of us as are 
inclined to take on flesh more than we think graceful. 

Monday morning, 25th. This letter has been long on 

the stocks, dear E . I have been busy all day, and 

tired, and lazy in the evening latterly, and, moreover, feel 
as if such very dull matter was hardly worth sending all 
the way off to where you are happy to be. However, 
that is nonsense ; I know well enough that you are glad 
to hear from me, be it what it will, and so I resume my 
chronicle. Some of my evenings have been spent in read- 
ing Mr. Clay's anti-abolition speech, and making notes on 
it, which I will show you when we meet. What a cruel 
pity and what a cruel shame it is that such a man should 
either know no better or do no better for his country than 
he is doing now ! 

Yesterday I for the first time bethought me of the rid- 
ing privileges of which Jack used to make such magnifi- 
cent mention when he was fishing with me at the rice- 



island ; and desiring to visit the remoter parts of the plan- 
tation and the other end of the island, I inquired into the 
resources of the stable. I was told I could have a mare 
with foal ; but I declined adding my weight to what the 
poor beast already carried, and my only choice then was 
between one who had just foaled, or a fine stallion used 
as a plow-horse on the plantation. I determined for the 
latter, and shall probably be handsomely shaken whenever 
I take my rides abroad. 

Tuesday, the 2Qth. My dearest E , I write to you 

to-day in great depression and distress. I have had a 
most painful conversation with Mr. , who has de- 
clined receiving any of the people's petitions through me. 
Whether he is wearied with the number of these prayers 
and supplications, which he would escape but for me, as 
they probably would not venture to come so incessantly 
to him, and I, of course, feel bound to bring every one 
confided to me to him, or whether he has been annoyed 
at the number of pitiful and horrible stories of misery and 

oppression under the former rule of Mr. K , which 

have come to my knowledge since I have been here, and 
the grief and indignation caused, but which can not, by 
any means, always be done away with, though their ex- 
pression may be silenced by his angry exclamations of 
" Why do you listen to such stuff?" or " Why do you be- 
lieve such trash ? don't you know the niggers are all d — d 
liars ?" etc., I do not know ; but he desired me this morn- 
ing to bring him no more complaints or requests of any 
sort, as the people had hitherto had no such advocate, and 
had done very well without, and I was only kept in an in- 
cessant state of excitement with all the falsehoods they 
"found they could make me believe." How well they 
have done without my advocacy, the conditions which I 
see with my own eyes, even more than their pitiful pe- 
titions, demonstrate ; it is indeed true that the sufferings 


of those who come to me for redress, and, still more, the 
injustice done to the great majority who can not, have 
filled my heart with bitterness and indignation that have 
overflowed my lips, till, I suppose, is weary of hear- 
ing what he has never heard before, the voice of pas- 
sionate expostulation and importunate pleading against 
wrongs that he will not even acknowledge, and for crea- 
tures whose common humanity with his own I half think 
he does not believe ; but I must return to the North, for 
my condition would be almost worse than theirs — con- 
demned to hear and see so much wretchedness, not only 
without the means of alleviating it, but without permis- 
sion even to represent it for alleviation : this is no place 
for me, since I was not born among slaves, and can not 
bear to live among them. 

Perhaps, after all, what he says is true : when I am 
gone they will fall back into the desperate uncomplaining 
habit of suffering, from which my coming among them, 
willing to hear and ready to help, has tempted them ; he 
says that bringing their complaints to me, and the sight 
of my credulous commiseration, only tend to make them 
discontented and idle, and brings renewed chastisement 
upon them; and that so, instead of really befriending 
them, I am only preparing more suffering for them when- 
ever I leave the place, and they can no more cry to me for 
help. And so I see nothing for it but to go and leave 
them to their fate ; perhaps, too, he is afraid of the mere 
contagion of freedom which breathes from the very exist- 
ence of those who are free ; my way of speaking to the 
people, of treating them, of living with them, the appeals 
I make to their sense of truth, of duty, of self-respect, the 
infinite compassion and the human consideration I feel for 
them — all this, of course, makes my intercourse with them 
dangerously suggestive of relations far different from any 
thing they have ever known ; and, as Mr. O once al- 


most hinted to me, my existence among slaves was an ele- 
ment of danger to the u institution." If I should go away, 
the human sympathy that I have felt for them will cer- 
tainly never come near them again. 

I was too unhappy to write any more, my dear friend, 
and you have been spared the rest of my paroxysm, which 
hereabouts culminated in the blessed refuge of abundant 
tears. God will provide. He has not forgotten, nor will 
He forsake these His poor children ; and if I may no lon- 
ger minister to them, they yet are in His hand, who cares 
for them more and better than I can. 

Toward the afternoon yesterday I rowed up the river 
to the rice-island by way of refreshment to my spirits, and 
came back to-day, Wednesday, the 27th, through rather a 
severe storm. Before going to bed last night I finished 
Mr. Clay's speech, and ground my teeth over it. Before 
starting this morning I received from head man Frank a 
lesson on the various qualities of the various sorts of rice, 
and should be (at any rate till I forget all he told me, 
which I " feel in my bones" will be soon) a competent 
judge and expert saleswoman. The dead white speck, 
which shows itself sometimes in rice as it does in teeth, 
is in the former, as in the latter, a sign of decay ; the 
finest quality of rice is what may be called flinty, clear 
and unclouded, and a pretty, clean, sparkling-looking thing 
it is. 

I will tell you something curious and pleasant about my 
row back. The wind was so high and the river so rough 
when I left the rice-island, that just as I was about to get 
into the boat I thought it might not be amiss to carry my 
life-preserver with me, and ran back to the house to fetch 
it. Having taken that much care for my life, I jumped 
into the boat, and we pushed off. The fifteen miles' row 
with a furious wind, and part of the time the tide against 
us, and the huge broad, turbid river broken into a foam- 


ing sea of angry waves, was a pretty severe task for the 
men. They pulled with a will, however, but I had to 
forego the usual accompaniment of their voices, for the la- 
bor was tremendous, especially toward the end of our voy- 
age, where, of course, the nearness of the sea increased 
the roughness of the water terribly. The men were in 
great spirits, however (there were eight of them rowing, 
and one behind was steering) ; one of them said some- 
thing which elicited an exclamation of general assent, and 
I asked what it was ; the steerer said they were pleased 
because there was not another planter's lady in all Geor- 
gia who would have gone through the storm all alone 
with them in a boat ; i. e., without the protecting pres- 
ence of a white man. " Why," said I, " my good fellows, 
if the boat capsized, or any thing happened, I am sure I 
should have nine chances for my life instead of one ;" at 
this there was one shout of "So you would, missis ; true 
for dat, missis;" and in great mutual good-humor we 
reached the landing at Hampton Point. 

As I walked home I pondered over this compliment of 

Mr. 's slaves to me, and did not feel quite sure that 

the very absence of the fear which haunts the Southern 
women in their intercourse with these people, and pre- 
vents them from trusting themselves ever with them out 
of reach of white companionship and supervision, was not 
one of the circumstances which makes my intercourse 
with them unsafe and undesirable. The idea of appre- 
hending any mischief from them never yet crossed my 
brain ; and in the perfect confidence with which I go 
among them, they must perceive a curious difference be- 
tween me and my lady neighbors in these parts ; all have 
expressed unbounded astonishment at my doing so. 

The spring is fast coming on, and we shall, I suppose, 
soon leave Georgia. How new and sad a chapter of my 
life this winter here has been ! 


Dear E , — I can not give way to the bitter impa- 
tience I feel at my present position, and come back to the 
North without leaving my babies ; and though I suppose 
their stay will not in any case be much prolonged in these 
regions of swamp and slavery, I must, for their sakes, re- 
main where they are, and learn this dreary lesson of hu- 
man suffering to the end. The record, it seems to me, 
must be utterly wearisome to you, as the instances them- 
selves, I suppose, in a given time (thanks to that dreadful 
reconciler to all that is evil — habit), would become to me. 

This morning I had a visit from two of tire women, 
Charlotte and Judy, who came to me for help and advice 
for a complaint, which it really seems to me every other 
woman on the estate is cursed with, and which is a direct 
result of the conditions of their existence ; the practice of 
sending women to labor in the fields in the third week 
after their confinement is a specific for causing this in-, 
firmity, and I know no specific for curing it under these 
circumstances. As soon as these poor things had depart- 
ed with such comfort as I could give them, and the band- 
ages they especially begged for, three other sable graces 
introduced themselves, Edie, Louisa, and Diana ; the for- 
mer told me she had had a family of seven children, bat 
had lost them all through " ill luck," as she denominated 
the ignorance and ill treatment which were answerable 
for the loss of these, as of so many other poor little crea- 
tures their fellows. Having dismissed her and Diana 
with the sugar and rice they came to beg, I detained 
Louisa, whom I had never seen but in the presence of her 
old grandmother, whose version of the poor child's escape 
to, and hiding in the woods, I had a desire to compare 
with the heroine's own story. She told it very simply, 
and it was most pathetic. She had not finished her task 
one day, when she said she felt ill, and unable to do so, 


and had been severely flogged by Driver Bran, in whose 
" gang" she then was. The next day, in spite of this en- 
couragement to labor, she had again been unable to com- 
plete her appointed work ; and Bran having told her that 
he'd tie her up and flog her if she did not get it done, she 
had left the field and run into the swamp. " Tie you up, 
Louisa !" said I ; " what is that ?" She then described to 
me that they were fastened uj) by their wrists to a beam 
or a branch of a tree, their feet barely touching the ground, 
so as to allow them no purchase for resistance or evasion 
of the lash, their clothes turned over their heads, and their 
backs scored with a leather thong, either by the driver 
himself, or, if he pleases to inflict their punishment by 
deputy, any of the men he may choose to summon to the 
office ; it might be father, brother, husband, or lover, if 
the overseer so ordered it. I turned sick, and my blood 
curdled listening to these details from the slender young 
slip of a lassie, with her poor piteous face and murmuring, 
pleading voice. " Oh," said I, " Louisa ; but the rattle- 
snakes — the dreadful rattlesnakes in the swamps; were 
you not afraid of those horrible creatures ?" " Oh, mis- 
sis," said the poor child, " me no tink of dem ; me forget 
all 'bout dem for de fretting." "Why did you come 
home at last ?" " Oh, missis, me starve with hunger, me 
most dead with hunger before me come back." "And 
were you flogged, Louisa?" said I, with a shudder at 
what the answer might be. " No, missis, me go to hos- 
pital ; me almost dead and sick so long, 'spec Driver Bran 
him forgot 'bout de flogging." I am getting perfectly 

savage over all these doings, E , and really think I 

should consider my own throat and those of my children 
w r ell cut if some night the people were to take it into their 
heads to clear off scores in that fashion. 

The Calibanish wonderment of all my visitors at the 
exceedingly coarse and simple furniture and rustic means 


of comfort of my abode is very droll. I have never in- 
habited any apartment so perfectly devoid of what we 
should consider the common decencies of life ; but to them, 
my rude chintz-covered sofa and common pine- wood table, 
with its green baize cloth, seem the adornings of a palace ; 
and often in the evening, when my bairns are asleep, and 
M up stairs keeping watch over them, and I sit writ- 
ing this daily history for your edification, the door of the 
great barn-like room is opened stealthily, and one after 
another, men and women come trooping silently in, their 
naked feet falling all but inaudibly on the bare boards as 
they betake themselves to the hearth, where they squat 
down on their hams in a circle, the bright blaze from the 
huge pine logs, which is the only light of this half of the 
room, shining on their sooty limbs and faces, and making 
them look like a ring of ebony idols surrounding my do- 
mestic hearth. I have had as many as fourteen at a time 
squatting silently there for nearly half an hour, watching 
me writing at the other end of the room. The candles on 
my table give only light enough for my own occupation, 
the fire-light illuminates the rest of the apartment ; and 
you can not imagine any thing stranger than the effect of 
all these glassy whites of eyes and grinning white teeth 
turned toward me, and shining in the flickering light. I 
very often take no notice of them at all, and they seem 
perfectly absorbed in contemplating me. My evening 
dress probably excites their wonder and admiration no 
less than my rapid and continuous writing, for which they 
have sometimes expressed compassion, as if they thought 
it must be more laborious than hoeing ; sometimes at the 
end of my day's journal I look up and say suddenly, "Well, 
what do you want ?" when each black figure springs up 
at once, as if moved by machinery ; they all answer, " Me 
come say ha do (how d'^e do), missis ;" and then they 
troop out as noiselessly as they entered, like a procession 



of sable dreams, and I go off in search, if possible, of whiter 

Two days ago I had a visit of great interest to me from 
several lads from twelve to sixteen years old, who had 
come to beg me to give them work. To make you un- 
derstand this, you must know that, wishing very much to 
cut some walks and drives through the very picturesque 
patches of woodland not far from the house, I announced, 
through Jack, my desire to give employment in the wood- 
cutting line to as many lads as chose, when their unpaid 
task was done, to come and do some work for me, for 
which I engaged to pay them. At the risk of producing 
a most dangerous process of reflection and calculation in 
their brains, I have persisted in paying what I considered 
wages to every slave that has been my servant ; and these 
my laborers must, of course, be free to work or no, as they 
like, and if they work for me must be paid by me. The 
proposition met with unmingled approbation from my 
" gang ;" but I think it might be considered dangerously 
suggestive of the rightful relation between work and 
wages ; in short, very involuntarily no doubt, but, never- 
theless, very effectually I am disseminating ideas among 

Mr. 's dependents, the like of which have certainly 

never before visited their wool-thatched brains. 

Friday, March 1. Last night, after writing so much to 
you, I felt weary, and went out into the air to refresh my 
spirit. The scene just beyond the house was beautiful ; 
the moonlight slept on the broad river, which here is al- 
most the sea, and on the masses of foliage of the great 
Southern oaks ; the golden stars of German poetry shone 
in the purple curtains of the night, and the measured rush 
of the Atlantic unfurling its huge skirts upon the white 
sands of the beach (the sweetest and most awful lullaby 
in nature) resounded through^the silent air. 

I have not felt well, and have been much depressed for 


some days past. I think I should die if I had to live here. 
This morning, in order not to die yet, I thought I had bet- 
ter take a ride, and accordingly mounted the horse which 
I told you was one of the equestrian alternatives offered 
me here ; but no sooner did he feel my weight, which, 
after all, is mere levity and frivolity to him, than he thought 
proper to rebel, and find the grasshopper a burden, and 
rear and otherwise demonstrate his disgust. I have not 
ridden for a long time now; but Montreal's opposition 
very presently aroused the Amazon which is both natural 
and acquired in me, and I made him comprehend that, 
though I object to slaves, I expect obedient servants ; 
which views of mine being imparted by a due administra- 
tion of both spur and whip, attended with a judicious com- 
bination of coaxing pats on his great crested neck, and 
endearing commendations of his beauty, produced the de- 
sired effect. Montreal accepted me as inevitable, and car- 
ried me very wisely and well up the island to another of 
the slave settlements on the plantation, called Jones's 

On my way I passed some magnificent evergreen oaks,* 
and some thickets of exquisite evergreen shrubs, and one 
or two beautiful sites for a residence, which made me 
gnash my teeth when I thought of the one we had chosen. 
To be sure, these charming spots, instead of being con- 
veniently in the middle of the plantation, are at an out of 
the way end of it, and so hardly eligible for the one qual- 
ity desired for the overseer's abode, viz., being central. 

All the slaves' huts on St. Simon's are far less solid, com- 
fortable, and habitable than those at the rice-island. I do 

* The only ilex-trees which I have seen comparable in size and beau- 
ty with those of the sea-board of Georgia are some to be found in the 
Roman Campagna, at Passerano, Lunghegna, Castel Fusano, and oth- 
er of its great princely farms, but.especially in the magnificent woody 
wilderness of Valerano. 


not know whether the laborer's habitation bespeaks the 
alteration in the present relative importance of the crops, 
but certainly the cultivators of the once far-famed long 
staple sea-island cotton of St. Simon's are far more miser- 
ably housed than the rice-raisers of the other plantation. 
These ruinous shielings, that hardly keep out wind or 
weather, are deplorable homes for young or aged people, 
and poor shelters for the hard-working men and women 
who cultivate the fields in w T hich they stand. Riding 
home I passed some beautiful woodland, with charming 
pink and white blossoming peach and plum trees, which 
seemed to belong to some orchard that had been attempt- 
ed, and afterward delivered over to wildness. On inquiry, 
I found that no fruit worth eating was ever gathered from 
them. What a pity it seems ! for in this warm, delicious 
winter climate any and every species of fruit might be cul- 
tivated with little pains and to great perfection. As I 
was cantering along the side of one of the cotton-fields I 
suddenly heard some inarticulate vehement cries, and saw 
what seemed to be a heap of black limbs tumbling and 
leaping toward me, renewing the screams at intervals as 
it approached. I stopped my horse, and the black ball 
bounded almost into the road before me, and, suddenly 
straightening itself up into a haggard hag of a half-naked 
negress, exclaimed, with panting, eager breathlessness, 
" Oh, missis, missis, you no hear me cry, you no hear me 
call. Oh, missis, me call, me cry, and me run ; make me a 
gown like dat. Do, for massy's sake, only make me a 
gown like dat." This modest request for a riding habit 
in which to hoe the cotton-fields served for an introduc- 
tion to sundry other petitions for rice, and sugar, and flan- 
nel, all which I promised the petitioner, but not the "gown 
like dat ;" whereupon I rode off, and she flung herself 
down in the middle of the road to get her wind and rest. 
The passion for dress is curiously strong in these peo- 


pie, and seems as though it might be made an instrument in 
converting them, outwardly at any rate, to something like 
civilization ; for, though their own native taste is decided- 
ly both barbarous and ludicrous, it is astonishing how 
very soon they mitigate it in imitation of their white mod- 
els. The fine figures of the mulatto women in Charleston 
and Savannah are frequently as elegantly and tastefully 
dressed as those of any of their female superiors ; and 
here on St. Simon's, owing, I suppose, to the influence of 
the resident lady proprietors of the various plantations, 
and the propensity to imitate in their black dependents, 
the people that I see all seem to me much tidier, cleaner, 
and less fantastically dressed than those on the rice plan- 
tation, where no such influences reach them. 

On my return from my ride I had a visit from Captain 

F , the manager of a neighboring plantation, with 

whom I had a long conversation about the present and 
past condition of the estate, the species of feudal magnifi- 
cence in which its original owner, Major , lived, the 

iron rule of old overseer K which succeeded to it, 

and the subsequent sovereignty of his son, Mr. R 

K , the man for whom Mr. entertains such a cor- 
dial esteem, and of whom every account I receive from 
the negroes seems to me to indicate a merciless sternness 
of disposition that may be a virtue in a slave-driver, but 

is hardly a Christian grace. Captain F was one of 

our earliest visitors at the rice plantation on our arrival, 
and I think I told you of his mentioning, in speaking to 
me of the orange-trees which formerly grew all round the 
dikes there, that he had taken Basil Hall there once in 
their blossoming season, and that he had said the sight 
was as well worth crossing the Atlantic for as Niagara. 
To-day he referred to that again. He has resided for a 
great many years on a plantation here, and is connected 
with our neighbor, old Mr. C , whose daughter,! be- 


lieve, he married. He interested me extremely by bis de- 
scription of tbe bouse Major bad many years ago on 

a part of tbe island called St. Clair. As far as I can un- 
derstand, there must have been an indefinite number of 
"masters'" residences on this estate in the old major's 
time; for, what with the one we are building, and the 
ruined remains of those not quite improved off the face of 
the earth, and the tradition of those that have ceased to 
exist, even as ruins, I make out no fewer than seven. 
How gladly would I exchange all that remain and all that 
do not for the smallest tenement in your blessed Yankee 
mountain village ! 

Captain F told me that at St. Clair General Ogle- 
thorpe, the good and brave English governor of the State 
of Georgia in its colonial days, had his residence, and that 
among the magnificent live oaks which surround the site 
of the former settlement, there was one especially vener- 
able and picturesque, which in his recollection always 
went by the name of General Oglethorpe's Oak. If you 
remember the history of the colony under his benevolent 
rule, you must recollect how absolutely he and his friend 
and counselor Wesley opposed the introduction of slavery 
in the colony. How wrathfully the old soldier's spirit 
ought to haunt these cotton-fields and rice-swamps of his 
old domain, with their population of wretched slaves ! I 
will ride to St. Clair and see his oak; if I should see him, 
he can not have much to say to me on the subject that I 
should not cry amen to. 

Saturday, March 2. I have made a gain, no doubt, in 

one respect in coming here, dear E , for, not being 

afraid of a rearing stallion, I can ride ; but, on the other 
hand, my aquatic diversions are all likely, I fear, to be 
much curtailed. "Well may you, or any other Northern 
Abolitionist, consider this a heaven-forsaken region — why, 
I can not even get worms to fish with, and was solemnly 


assured by Jack this morning that the whole " Point," i. 
i., neighborhood of the house, had been searched in vain 
for these useful and agreeable animals. I must take to 
some more sportsman-like species of bait ; but, in my to- 
tal ignorance of even the kind of fish that inhabit these 
waters, it is difficult for me to adapt my temptations to 
their taste. 

Yesterday evening I had a visit that made me very sor- 
rowful, if any thing connected with these poor people can 
be called more especially sorrowful than their whole con- 
dition ; but Mr. 's declaration that he will receive no 

more statements of grievances or petitions for redress 
through me makes me as desirous now of shunning the 
vain appeals of these unfortunates as I used to be of re- 
ceiving and listening to them. The imploring cry, " Oh 
missis !" that greets me whichever way I turn, makes me 
long to stop my ears now ; for what can I say or do any 
more for them ? The poor little favors — the rice, the sug- 
ar, the flannel — that they beg foiv with such eagerness, 
and receive with such exuberant gratitude, I can, it is true, 
supply, and words and looks of pity, and counsel of pa- 
tience, and such instruction in womanly habits of decency 
and cleanliness as may enable them to better, in some de- 
gree, their own hard lot ; but to the entreaty, " Oh, mis- 
sis, you speak to massa for us ! Oh, missis, you beg massa 
for us ! Oh, missis, you tell massa for we, he sure do as 
you say!" I can not now answer as formerly, and I turn 
away choking and with eyes full of tears from the poor 
creatures, not even daring to promise any more the faith- 
ful transmission of their prayers. 

The women who visited me yesterday evening were all 
in the family-way, and came to entreat of me to have the 
sentence (what else can I call ft?) modified which con- 
demns them to resume their labor of hoeing in the fields 
three weeks after their confinement. They knew, of 


course, that I can not interfere with their appointed labor, 
and therefore their sole entreaty was that I would use my 
influence with Mr. to obtain for them a month's res- 
pite from labor in the field after childbearing. Their 
principal spokeswoman, a woman with a bright sweet face, 
called Mary, and a very sweet voice, which is by no means 
an uncommon excellence among them, appealed to my 
own experience; and while she spoke of my babies, and my 
carefully tended, delicately nursed, and tenderly watched 
confinement and convalescence, and implored me to have 
a kind of labor given to them less exhausting during the 
month after their confinement, I held the table before me 
so hard in order not to cry that I think my fingers ought 
to have left a mark on it. At length I told them that 
Mr. had forbidden me to bring him any more com- 
plaints from them, for that he thought the ease with which 
I received and believed their stories only tended to make 
them discontented, and that, therefore, I feared I could not 
promise to take'their petitions to him ; but that he would 
be coming down to " the Point" soon, and that they had 
better come then some time when I was with him, and 
say what they had just been saying to me ; and with this, 
and various small bounties, I was forced, with a heavy 
heart, to dismiss them ;- and when they were gone, with 
many exclamations of, " Oh yes, missis, you will, you will 
speak to massa for we ; God bless you, missis, we sure 
you will !" I had my cry out for them, for myself, for us. 
All these women had had large families, and all of them 
had lost half their children, and several of them had lost 
more. How I do ponder upon the strange fate which has 
brought me here, from so far aw T ay, from surroundings so 
curiously different — how my own people in that blessed 
England of my birth would marvel if they could suddenly 
have a vision of me as I sit here, and how sorry some of 
them would be for me ! 


I am helped to bear all that is so very painful to me 
here by my constant enjoyment oT the strange, wild scen- 
ery in the midst of which I live, and which my resumption 
of my equestrian habits gives me almost daily opportuni- 
ty of observing. I rode to-day to some new-cleared and 
plowed ground that was being prepared for the precious 
cotton-crop. I crossed a salt marsh upon a raised cause- 
way that w r as perfectly alive with land-crabs, whose des- 
perately active endeavors to avoid my horse's hoofs were 
so ludicrous that I literally laughed alone and aloud at 
them. The sides of this road across the swamp were cov- 
ered with a thick and close embroidery of creeping moss, 
or rather lichens of the most vivid green and red : the 
latter made my horse's path look as if it w T as edged with 
an exquisite pattern of coral ; it w T as like a thing in a fairy 
tale, and delighted me extremely. 

I suppose, E- , one secret of my being able to suffer 

as acutely as I do, without being made either ill or abso- 
lutely miserable, is the childish excitability of my temper- 
ament, and the sort of ecstasy which any beautiful thing 
gives me. No day, almost no hour, passes without some 
enjoyment of the sort this coral-bordered road gave me, 
which not only charms my senses completely at the time, 
but returns again and again before my memory, delight- 
ing my fancy, and stimulating my imagination. I some- 
times despise myself for what seems to me an inconceiv- 
able rapidity of emotion, that almost makes me doubt 
whether any one who feels so many things can really be 
said to feel any thing ; but I generally recover from this 
perplexity by remembering whither invariably every im- 
pression of beauty leads my thoughts, and console myself 
for my contemptible facility of impression by the reflec- 
tion that it is, upon the whole, a merciful system of com- 
pensation by which my whole nature, tortured as it was 
last night, can be absorbed this morning in a perfectly 


pleasurable contemplation of the capers of crabs and the 
color of mosses as if nothing else existed in creation. One 
thing, however, I think, is equally certain, and that is, that 
I need never expect much sympathy, and perhaps this 
special endowment will make me, to some degree, inde- 
pendent of it ; but I have no doubt that to follow me 
through half a day with any species of lively participation 
in my feelings would be a sevope breathless moral calis- 
thenic to most of my friends — what Shakspeare calls 
" sweating labor." As far as I have hitherto had oppor- 
tunities of observing, children and maniacs are the only 
creatures who would be capable of sufficiently rapid trans- 
itions of thought and feeling to keep pace with me. 

And so I rode through the crabs and the coral. There 
is one thing, however, I beg to commend to your serious 
consideration as a trainer of youth, and that is, the expe- 
diency of cultivating in all the young minds you educate 
an equal love of the good, the beautiful, and the absurd 
(not an easy task, for the latter is apt in its development 
to interfere a little with the two others) : doing this, you 
command all the resources of existence. The love of the 
good and beautiful of course you are prepared to culti- 
vate — that goes without saying, as the French say; the 
love of the ludicrous will not appear to you as important, 
and yet you will be wrong to undervalue it. In the first 
place, I might tell you that it was almost like cherishing 
the love of one's fellow-creatures — at which, no doubt, 
you shake your head reprovingly ; but, leaving aside the 
enormous provision for the exercise of this natural faculty 
which we offer to each other, why should crabs scuttle 
from under my horse's feet in such a way as to make me 
laugh again every time I think of it, if there is not an in- 
herent propriety in laughter, as the only emotion which 
certain objects challenge — an emotion wholesome for the 
soul and body of man ? After all, why are we contrived 


to laugh at all, if laughter is not essentially befitting and 
beneficial ? and most people's lives are too lead-colored to 
afford to lose one sparkle on them, even the smallest 
twinkle of light gathered from a flash of nonsense. Here- 
after point out for the " appreciative" study of your pu- 
pils all that is absurd in themselves, others, and the uni- 
verse in general ; 'tis an element largely provided, of 
course, to meet a corresponding and grateful capacity for 
its enjoyment. 

After my crab and coral causeway I came to the most 
exquisite thickets of evergreen shrubbery you can imag- 
ine. If I wanted to paint Paradise I would copy this un- 
dergrowth, passing through which I went on to the set- 
tlement at St. Annie's, traversing another swamp on an- 
other raised causeway. The thickets through which I 
next rode were perfectly draped with the beautiful wild 
jasmine of these woods. Of all the parasitical plants I 
ever saw, I do think it is the most exquisite in form and 
color, and its perfume is like the most delicate heliotrope. 

I stopped for some time before a thicket of glittering 
evergreens, over which hung, in every direction, stream- 
ing garlands of these fragrant golden cups, fit for Obe- 
ron's banqueting service. These beautiful shrubberies 
were resounding with the songs of mocking-birds. I sat 
there on my horse in a sort of dream of enchantment, 
looking, listening, and inhaling the delicious atmosphere 
of those flowers ; and suddenly my eyes opened, as if I 
had been asleep, on some bright red bunches of spring 
leaves on one of the winter-stripped trees, and I as sud- 
denly thought of the cold Northern skies and earth, where 
the winter was still inflexibly tyrannizing over you all, 
and, in spite of the loveliness of all that was present, and 
the harshness of all that I seemed to see at that moment, 
no first tokens of the spring's return were ever more wel- 
come to me than those bright leaves that reminded mo 

JD^I-'l? 4> ivj+o ]3e»V^e(ise 


how soon I should leave this scene of material beauty and 
moral degradation, where the beauty itself is of an appro- 
priate character to the human existence it surrounds : 
above all, loveliness, brightness, and fragrance ; but be- 
low ! it gives one a sort of melusina feeling of horror — all 
swamp and poisonous stagnation, which the heat will pres- 
ently make alive with venomous reptiles. 

I rode on, and the next object that attracted my atten- 
tion was a very startling and by no means agreeable one 
— an enormous cypress-tree which had been burnt stood 
charred and blackened, and leaning toward the road so as 
to threaten a speedy fall across it, and on one of the limbs 
of this great charcoal giant hung a dead rattlesnake. If 
I tell you that it looked to me at least six feet long, you 
will say you only wonder I did not say twelve ; it was a 
hideous-looking creature, and some negroes I met soon 
after told me they had found it in the swamp, and hung it 
dead on the burning tree. Certainly the two together 
made a dreadful trophy, and a curious contrast to the 
lovely bowers of bloom I had just been contemplating 
with such delight. 

This settlement at St. Annie's is the remotest on the 
whole plantation, and I found there the wretchedest huts, 
and most miserably squalid, filthy, and forlorn creatures I 
had yet seen here — certainly the condition of the slaves 
on this estate is infinitely more neglected and deplorable 
than that on the rice plantation. Perhaps it may be that 
the extremely unhealthy nature of the rice cultivation 
makes it absolutely necessary that the physical condition 
of the laborers should be maintained at its best to enable 
them to abide it ; and yet it seems to me that even the 
process of soaking the rice can hardly create a more dan- 
gerous miasma than the poor creatures must inhale who 
live in the midst of these sweltering swamps, half sea, 
half river slime. Perhaps it has something to do with the 


fact that the climate on St. Simon's is generally considered 
peculiarly mild and favorable, and so less protection of 
clothes and shelter is thought necessary here for the poor 
residents ; perhaps, too, it may be because the cotton crop 
is now, I believe, hardly as valuable as the rice crop, and 
the plantation here, which was once the chief source of its 
owner's wealth, is becoming a secondary one, and so not 
worth so much care or expense in repairing and construct- 
ing negro huts and feeding and clothing the slaves. More 
pitiable objects than some of those I saw at the St. Annie's 
settlement to-day I hope never to see : there was an old 
crone called Hannah, a sister, as well as I could under- 
stand what she said, of old House Molly, whose face and 
figure, seamed with wrinkles, and bowed and twisted 
with age and infirmity, really hardly retained the sem- 
blance of those of a human creature, and as she crawled 
to me almost half her naked body was exposed through 
the miserable tatters that she held on with one hand, 
while the other eagerly clutched my hand, and her ]30or 
blear eyes wandered all over me as if she was bewildered 
by the strange aspect of any human being but those whose 
sight was familiar to her. One or two forlorn creatures 
like herself, too old or too infirm to be compelled to work, 
and the half-starved and more than half-naked children ap- 
parently left here under their -charge, were the only in- 
mates I found in these wretched hovels. 

I came home without stopping to look at any thing, 
for I had no heart any longer for what had so charmed 
me on my way to this place. Galloping along the road 
after leaving the marshes, I scared an ox who was feeding 
leisurely, and, to my great dismay, saw the foolish beast 
betake himself with lumbering speed into the "bush:" 
the slaves will have to hunt after him, and perhaps will 
discover more rattlesnakes six or twelve feet long. 

After reaching home I went to the house of the over- 


seer to see his wife, a tidy, decent, kind-hearted little wom- 
an, who seems to me to do her duty by the poor people 
she lives among as well as her limited intelligence and still 
more limited freedom allow. The house her husband lives 

in is the former residence of Major , which was the 

great mansion of the estate. It is now in a most ruinous 
and tottering condition, and they inhabit but a few rooms 
in it ; the others are gradually mouldering to pieces, and 
the whole edifice will, I should think, hardly stand long 
enough to be carried away by the river, which in its year- 
ly inroads on the bank on which it stands has already ap- 
proached within a perilous proximity to the old dilapi- 
dated planter's palace. Old Molly, of whom I have often 
before spoken to you, who lived here in the days of the 
prosperity and grandeur of "Hampton," still clings to the 
relics of her old master's former magnificence, and with a 
pride worthy of old Caleb of Ravenswood showed me 
through the dismantled decaying rooms and over the re- 
mains of the dairy, displaying a capacious fish-box or well, 
where, in the good old days, the master's supply was kept 
in fresh salt water till required for table. Her prideful 
lamentations over the departure of all this quondam glory 
were ludicrous and pathetic; but, while listening with 
some amusement to the jumble of grotesque descriptions, 
through which her impression of the immeasurable gran- 
deur and nobility of the house she served was the pre- 
dominant feature, I could not help contrasting the present 
state of the estate with that which she described, and 
wondering why it should have become, as it undoubtedly 
must have done, so infinitely less productive a property 
than in the old major's time. 

Before closing this letter, I have a mind to transcribe 
to you the entries for to-day recorded in a sort of day- 
book, where I put down very succinctly the number of 
people who visit me, their petitions and ailments, and also 


such special particulars concerning them as seem to me 
worth recording. You will see how miserable the phys- 
ical condition of many* of these poor creatures is; and 
their physical condition, it is insisted by those who uphold 
this evil system, is the only part of it which is prosperous, 
happy, and compares well with that of Northern laborers. 
Judge from the details I now send you ; and never for- 
get, while reading them, that the people on this plantation 
are well off, and consider themselves well off, in compari- 
son with the slaves on some of the neighboring estates. 

Fanny has had six children ; all dead but one. She 
came to beg to have her work in the field lightened. 

Nanny has had three children ; two of them are dead. 
She came to implore that the rule of sending them into 
the field three weeks after their confinement might be al- 

Leah, Caesar's wife, has had six children ; three are 

Sojrfiy, Lewis's wife, came to beg for some old linen. 
She is suffering fearfully; has had ten children; five of 
them are dead. The principal favor she asked was a piece 
of meat, which I gave her. 

Sally ', Scipio's wife, has had two miscarriages and three 
children born, one of whom is dead. She came complain- 
ing of incessant pain and weakness in her back. This 
woman was a mulatto daughter of a slave called Sophy, 
by a white man of the name of Walker, who visited the 

Charlotte, Renty's wife, had had two miscarriages, and 
was with child again. She was almost crippled with rheu- 
matism, and showed me a pair of poor swollen knees that 
made my heart ache. I have promised her a pair of flan- 
nel trowsers, which I must forthwith set about making. 

Sarah, Stephen's wife — this woman's case and history 
were alike deplorable. She had had four miscarriages, 


had brought seven children into the world, five of whom 
were dead, and was again with child. She complained 
of dreadful pains in the back, and an internal tumor which 
swells with the exertion of working in the fields ; prob- 
ably, I think, she is ruptured. She told me she had once 
been mad and had ran into the woods, where she con- 
trived to elude discovery for some time, but was at last 
tracked and brought back, when she was tied up by the 
arms, and heavy logs fastened to her feet, and was severe- 
ly flogged. After this she contrived to escape again, and 
lived for some time skulking in the woods, and she sup- 
poses mad, for when she was taken again she was entire- 
ly naked. She subsequently recovered from this derange- 
ment, and seems now just like all the other poor creatures 
who come to me for help and pity. I suppose her con- 
stant childbearing and hard labor in the fields at the same 
time may have produced the temporary insanity. 

SuJcey, Bush's wife, only came to pay her respects. 
She had had four miscarriages ; had brought eleven chil- 
dren into the world, five of whom are dead. 

Molly, Quambo's wife, also only came to see me. Hers 
was the best account I have yet received ; she had had 
nine children, and six of them were still alive. 

This is only the entry for to-day, in my diary, of the 
people's complaints and visits. Can \ou conceive a more 
wretched picture than that which it exhibits of the con- 
ditions under which these women live ? Their cases are 
in no respect singular, and though they come with pitiful 
entreaties that I will help them with some alleviation of 
their pressing physical distresses, it seems to me marvel- 
ous with what desperate patience (I write it advisedly, 
patience of utter despair) they endure their sorrow-laden 
existence. Even the poor wretch who told that miser- 
able story of insanity, and lonely hiding in the swamps, 
and scourging when she was found, and of her renewed 


madness and fliglit, did so in a sort of low, plaintive, 
monotonous murmur of misery, as if such sufferings were 
all " in the day's work." 

I ask these questions about their children because I 
think the number they bear as compared with the num- 
ber they rear a fair gauge of the effect of the system on 
their own health and that of their offspring. There was 
hardly one of these women, as you will see by the details 
I have noted of their ailments, who might not have been 
a candidate for a bed in a hospital, and they had come to 
me after working all day in the fields. 

Dearest E , — When I told you in my last letter of 

the encroachments which the waters of the Altamaha are 
daily making on the bank at Hampton Point and imme- 
diately in front of the imposing-looking old dwelling of 
the former master, I had no idea how rapid this crum- 
bling process has been of late years; but to-day, standing 

there with Mrs. G , whom I had gone to consult about 

the assistance we might render to some of the poor, crea- 
tures whose cases I sent you in my last letter, she told me 
that within the memory of many of the slaves now living 
on the plantation, a grove of orange-trees had spread its 
fragrance and beauty between the house and the river. 
Not a vestige remains of them. The earth that bore 
them was gradually undermined, slipped, and sank down 
into the devouring flood ; and when she saw the aston- 
ished incredulity of my look, she led me to the ragged 
and broken bank, and there, immediately below it, and 
just covered by the turbid waters of the in-rushing tide, 
were the heads of the poor drowned orange-trees, sway- 
ing like black twigs in the briny flood, which had not yet 
dislodged all of them from their hold upon the soil which 
had gone down beneath the water wearing its garland of 


bridal blossom. As I looked at those trees a wild wish 
rose in my heart that the river and the sea would swal- 
low up and melt in their salt waves the whole of this ac- 
cursed property of ours. I am afraid the horror of slav- 
ery with which I came down to the South, the general 
theoretic abhorrence of an Englishwoman for it, has gain- 
ed, through the intensity it has acquired, a morbid char- 
acter of mere desire to be delivered from my own share 
in it. I think so much of these wretches that I see, that 
I can hardly remember any others ; and my zeal for the 
general emancipation of the slave has almost narrowed 
itself to this most painful desire that I and mine were 
freed from the responsibility of our share in this huge 
misery; and so I thought, "Beat, beat, the crumbling 
banks and sliding shores, wild waves of the Atlantic and 
the Altamaha ! Sweep down and carry hence this evil 
earth and these homes of tyranny, and roll above the soil 
of slavery, and wash my soul and the souls of those I love 
clean from the blood of our kind !" But I have no idea 

that Mr. and his brother would cry amen to any such 

prayer. Sometimes, as I stand and listen to the roll of 
the great ocean surges on the farther side of little St. 
Simon's Island, a small green screen of tangled wilder- 
ness that interposes between this point and the Atlantic, 
I think how near our "West Indian Islands and freedom 
are to these unfortunate people, many of whom are expert 
and hardy boatmen, as far as the mere mechanical man- 
agement of a boat goes; but, unless Providence were 
compass and steersman too, it avails nothing that they 
should know how near their freedom might be found, nor 
have I any right to tell them if they could find it, for the 

slaves are not mine, they are Mr. 's. 

The mulatto woman, Sally, accosted me again to-day, 
and begged that she might be put to some other than 
field labor. Supposing she felt herself unequal to it, I 



asked her some questions, but the principal reason she 
urged for her promotion to some less laborious kind of 
work was, that hoeing in the field was so hard to her on 
u account of her color" and she therefore petitions to be 
allowed to learn a trade. I was much puzzled at this 
reason for her petition, but was presently made to under- 
stand that, being a mulatto, she considered field labor a 
degradation ; her white bastardy appearing to her a title 
to consideration in my eyes. The degradation of these 
people is very complete, for they have accepted the con- 
tempt of their masters to that degree that they profess, 
and really seem to feel it for themselves, and the faintest 
admixture of white blood in their black veins appears at 
once, by common consent of their own race, to raise them 
in the scale of humanity. I had not much sympathy for 
this petition. The woman's father had been a white man 
who was employed for some purpose on the estate. In 

speaking upon this subject to Mrs. G , she said that, 

as far as her observation went, the lower class of white 
men in the South lived with colored women precisely as 
they would at the North with women of their own race ; 
the outcry that one hears against amalgamation appears 
therefore to be something educated and acquired rather 
than intuitive. I can not perceive, in observing my chil- 
dren, that they exhibit the slightest repugnance or dislike 
to these swarthy dependents of theirs, which they surely 
would do if, as is so often pretended, there is an inherent, 
irreconcilable repulsion on the part of the white toward 
the negro race. All the Southern children that I have 
seen seem to have a special fondness for these good-na- 
tured, childish human beings, whose mental condition is 
kin in its simplicity and proneness to impulsive emotion 
to their own, and I can detect in them no trace of the ab- 
horrence and contempt for their dusky skins which all 
questions of treating them with common justice is so apt 
to elicit from American men and women. 

<&o-*)c 5'5 CreeK 


To-day, for the first time since I left the rice-island, I 
went out fishing, but had no manner of luck. Jack rowed 
me up Jones's Creek, a small stream which separates St. 
Simon's from the main, on the opposite side from the 
great waters of the Altamaha. The day was very warm. 
It is becoming almost too hot to remain here much lon- 
ger, at least for me, who dread and suffer from heat so 
much. The whole summer, however, is passed by many 
members of the Georgia families on their estates by the 
sea. "When the heat is intense, the breeze from the ocean 
and the salt air, I suppose, prevent it from being intolera- 
ble or hurtful. Our neighbor, Mr. C , and his family 

reside entirely, the year round, on their plantations here 
without apparently suffering in their health from the ef- 
fects of the climate. I suppose it is the intermediate re- 
gion between the sea-board and the mountains that be- 
comes so pestilential when once the warm weather sets in. 

I remember the Belgian minister, M. de , telling me 

that the mountain country of Georgia was as beautiful as 
Paradise, and that the climate, as far as his experience 
went, was perfectly delicious. He was, however, only 
there on an exploring expedition, and, of course, took the 
most favorable season of the year for the purpose. 

I have had several women with me this afternoon more 
or less disabled by chronic rheumatism. Certainly, either 
their labor or the exposure it entails must be very severe, 
for this climate is the last that ought to engender rheu- 
matism. This evening I had a visit from a bright young 
woman, calling herself Minda, who came to beg for a lit- 
tle rice or sugar. I inquired from which of the settle- 
ments she had come down, and found that she has to walk 
three miles every day to and from her work. She made 
no complaint whatever of this, and seemed to think her 
laborious tramp down to the Point after her day of labor 
on the field well rewarded by the pittance of rice and sug- 


ar she obtained. Perhaps she consoled herself for the ex- 
ertion by the reflection which occurred to me while talk- 
ing to her, that many women who have borne children, 
and many women with child, go the same distance to and 
from their task-ground — that seems dreadful ! 

I have let my letter lie from a stress of small interrup- 
tions. Yesterday, Sunday, 3d, old Auber, a stooping, halt- 
ing hag, came to beg for flannel and rice. As usual, of 
course, I asked various questions concerning her condi- 
tion, family, etc. ; she told me she had never been mar- 
ried, but had had five children, two of whom were dead. 
She complained of flooding, of intolerable backache, and 
said that with all these ailments she considered herself 
quite recovered, having suffered horribly from an abscess 
in her neck, which was now nearly well. I was surprised 
to hear of her other complaints, for she seemed to me like 
quite an old woman ; but constant childbearing, and the 
life of labor, exposure, and privation which they lead, ages 
these poor creatures prematurely. 

Dear E , how I do defy you to guess the novel ac- 
complishment I have developed within the last two days ; 
what do you say to my turning butcher's boy, and cutting 
up the carcase of a sheep for the instruction of our butch- 
er and cook, and benefit of our table ? You know, I have 
often written you word that we have mutton here — thanks 
to the short salt grass on which it feeds — that compares 
with the best South Down or Pre sale ; but such is the 
barbarous ignorance of the cook, or rather the butcher 
who furnishes our kitchen supplies, that I defy the most 
expert anatomist to pronounce on any piece (joints they 
can not be called) of mutton brought to our table to what 
part of the animal sheep it originally belonged. I have 
often complained bitterly of this, and in vain implored 
Abraham the cook to send me some dish of mutton to 
which I might with safety apply the familiar name of leg, 


shoulder, or haunch. These remonstrances and expostu- 
lations have produced no result whatever, however, but 
an increase of eccentricity in the chunks of sheeps' flesh 
placed upon the table ; the squares, diamonds, cubes, and 
rhomboids of mutton have been more ludicrously and 
hopelessly unlike any thing we see in a Christian butch- 
er's shop, with every fresh endeavor Abraham has made 
to find out " zackly wot de missis do want ;" so the day 

before yesterday, while I was painfully dragging S 

through the early intellectual science of the alphabet and 
first reading lesson, Abraham appeared at the door of the 
room brandishing a very long thin knife, and with many 
bows, grins, and apologies for disturbing me, begged that 
I would go and cut up a sheep for him. My first impulse, 
of course, w T as to decline the very unusual task offered me 
with mingled horror and amusement. Abraham, howev- 
er, insisted and besought, extolled the fineness of his sheep, 
declared his misery at being unable to cut it as I wished, 
and his readiness to conform for the future to whatever 
patterns of mutton " de missis would only please to give 
him." Upon reflection, I thought I might very well con- 
trive to indicate upon the sheep the size and form of the 
different joints of civilized mutton, and so, for the future, 
save much waste of good meat ; and, moreover, the les- 
son, once taught, would not require to be repeated, and I 
have ever held it expedient to accept every opportunity 
of learning to do any thing, no matter how unusual, which 
presented itself to be done ; and so I followed Abraham 
to the kitchen, when, with a towel closely pinned over my 
silk dress, and knife in hand, I stood for a minute or two 
meditating profoundly before the rather unsightly object 
which Abraham had pronounced " de beautifullest sheep 
de missis eber saw." The sight and smell of raw meat 
are especially odious to me, and I have often thought that 
if I had had to be my own cook, I should inevitably be- 


come a vegetarian, probably, indeed, return entirely to my 
green and salad days. Nathless, I screwed my courage 
to tbe sticking-point, and slowly and delicately traced out 
witb the point of my long carving-knife two shoulders, 
two legs, a saddle, and a neck of mutton ; not probably 
in the most thoroughly artistic and butcherly style, but as 
nearly as my memory and the unassisted light of nature 
would enable me ; and having instructed Abraham in the 
various boundaries, sizes, shapes, and names of the several 

joints, I returned to S and her belles-lettres, rather 

elated, upon the whole, at the creditable mode in which I 
flattered myself I had accomplished my unusual task, and 
the hope of once more seeing roast mutton of my acquaint- 
ance. I will confess to you, dear E , that the neck 

was not a satisfactory part of the performance, and I have 
spent some thoughts since in trying to adjust in my own 
mind its proper shape and proportions. 

As an accompaniment to a de beautifullest mutton de 
missis eber see," we have just received from my neighbor 
Mr. C the most magnificent supply of fresh vegeta- 
bles, green peas, salad, etc. He has a garden, and a Scotch- 
man's real love for horticulture, and I profijb by them in 
this very agreeable manner. 

I have been interrupted by several visits, my dear E , 

among other, one from a poor creature called Judy, whose 
sad story and condition affected me most painfully. She 
had been married, she said, some years ago to one of the 
men called Temba, who, however, now has another wife, 
having left her because she went mad. While out of her 
mind she escaped into the jungle, and contrived to secrete 
herself there for some time, but was finally tracked and 
caught, and brought back and punished by being made to 
sit, day after day, for hours in the stocks — a severe pun- 
ishment for a man, but for a woman perfectly barbarous. 
She complained of chronic rheumatism, and other terrible 


ailments, and said she suffered such intolerable pain while 
laboring in the fields, that she had come to entreat me to 
have her work lightened. She could hardly crawl, and 
cried bitterly all the time she spoke to me. 

She told me a miserable story of her former experience 

on the plantation under Mr. K 's overseership. It 

seems that Jem Valiant (an extremely difficult subject, a 
mulatto lad, whose valor is sufficiently accounted for now 
by the influence of the mutinous white blood) was her 

first-born, the son of Mr. K , who forced her, flogged 

her severely for having resisted him, and then sent her off, 
as a farther punishment, to Five Pound — a horrible swamp 
in a remote corner of the estate, to which the slaves are 
sometimes banished for such offenses as are not sufficient- 
ly atoned for by the lash. The dismal loneliness of the 
place to these poor people, who are as dependent as chil- 
dren upon companionship and sympathy, makes this soli- 
tary exile a much-dreaded infliction ; and this poor crea- 
ture said that, bad as the flogging was, she would sooner 
have taken that again than the dreadful lonely days and 
nights she spent on the penal swamp of Five Pound. 

I make no comment on these terrible stories, my dear 
friend, and tell them to you as nearly as possible in the 
perfectly plain, unvarnished manner in which they are told 
to me. I do not wish to add to, or perhaps I ought to 
say take away from, the effect of such narrations by am- 
plifying the simple horror and misery of their bare details. 

My deaeest E , — I have had an uninterrupted 

stream of women and children flowing in the whole morn- 
ing to say " Ha de, missis ?" Among others, a poor wom- 
an called Mile, who could hardly stand for pain and swell- 
ing in her limbs ; she had had fifteen children and two 
miscarriages ; nine of her children had died ; for the last 


three years she bad become almost a cripple "with chronic 
rheumatism, yet she is driven every day to work in the 
field. She held my hands, and stroked them in the most 
appealing way while she exclaimed, " Oh my missis ! my 
missis ! me neber sleep till day for de pain," and with the 
day her labor must again be resumed. I gave her flannel 
and sal volatile to rub her poor swelled limbs with ; rest 
I could not give her — rest from her labor and her pain — 
this mother of fifteen children. 

Another of my visitors had a still more dismal story to 
tell ; her name was Die ; she had had sixteen children, 
fourteen of whom were dead ; she had had four miscar- 
riages: one had been caused with falling down with a 
very heavy burden on her head, and one from having her 
arms strained up to be lashed. I asked her what she 
meant by having her arms tied up. She said their hands 
were first tied together, sometimes by the wrists, and 
sometimes, which was worse, by the thumbs, and they 
w^ere then drawn up to a tree or post, so as almost to 
swing them off the ground, and then their clothes rolled 
round their waist, and a man with a cowhide stands and 
stripes them. I give you the woman's words. She did 
not speak of this as of any thing strange, unusual, or es- 
pecially horrid and abominable ; and when I said, " Did 
they do that to you when you were with child?" she sim- 
ply replied, " Yes, missis." And to all this I listen — I, an 
English woman, the wife of the man who owns these 
wretches, and I can not say, "That thing shall not be 
done again ; that cruel shame and villainy shall never be 
known here again." I gave the woman meat and flannel, 
which were what she came to ask for, and remained chok- 
ing with indignation and grief long after they had all left 
me to my most bitter thoughts. 

I went out to try and walk off some of the weight of 
horror and depression which I am beginning to feel daily 


more and more, surrounded by all this misery and degra- 
dation that I can neither help nor hinder. The blessed 
spring is coining very fast, the air is full of delicious wild- 
wood fragrances, and the wonderful songs of Southern 
birds ; the wood paths are as tempting as paths into Par- 
adise, but Jack is in such deadly terror about the snakes, 
w T hich are now beginning to glide about with a freedom 
and frequency certainly not pleasing, that he will not fol- 
low me off the open road, and twice to-day scared me back 
from charming wood paths I ventured to explore with his 
exclamations of terrified warning. 

I gathered some exquisite pink blossoms, of a sort of 
waxen texture, off a small shrub which was strange to me, 
and for which Jack's only name was dye-bush ; but I could 
not ascertain from him whether any dyeing substance was 
found in its leaves, bark, or blossoms. 

I returned home along the river side, stopping to ad- 
mire a line of noble live oaks beginning, alas ! to be smoth- 
ered with the treacherous white moss under whose pale 
trailing masses their verdure gradually succumbs, leaving 
them, like huge hoary ghosts, perfect mountains of para- 
sitical vegetation, which, strangely enough, appears only 
to hang upon and swing from their boughs without ad- 
hering to them. The mixture of these streams of gray- 
white filaments with the dark foliage is extremely beauti- 
ful as long as the leaves of the tree survive in sufficient 
masses to produce the rich contrast of color ; but when 
the moss has literally conquered the whole tree, and, after 
stripping its huge limbs bare, clothed them with its own 
wan masses, they always looked to me like so many gigan- 
tic Druid ghosts, with flowing robes and beards, and locks 
all of one ghastly gray, and I would not have broken a 
twig off them for the world, lest a sad voice, like that 
which reproached Dante, should have moaned out of it to 



"Non hai tu spirto di pietade alcuno?" 
A beautiful mass of various woodland skirted the edge 
of the stream, and mingled in its foliage every shade of 
green, from the pale, stiff spikes and fans of the dwarf pal- 
metto to the dark canopy of the magnificent ilex — bowers 
and brakes of the loveliest wildness, where one dare not 
tread three steps for fear. What a tantalization ! it is like 
some wicked enchantment. 

Deaeest E , — I have found growing along the edge 

of the dreary inclosure where the slaves are buried such 
a lovely wild flower; it is a little like the euphrasia or 
eyebright of the English meadows, but grows quite close 
to the turf, almost into it, and consists of clusters of tiny 
white flowers that look as if they were made of the finest 
porcelain. I took up a root of it yesterday, with a sort 
of vague idea that I could transplant it to the North ; 
though I can not say that I should care to transplant any 
thing thither that could renew to me the associations of 
this place — not even the delicious wild flowers, if I could. 

The woods here are full of wild plum-trees, the delicate 
white blossoms of which twinkle among the evergreen 
copses, and, besides illuminating them with a faint star- 
light, suggest to my mind a possible liqueur like kirsch, 
which I should think could quite as well be extracted from 
wild plums as wild cherries, and the trees are so numerous 
that there ought to be quite a harvest from them. You 
may, and, doubtless, have seen palmetto plants in North- 
ern green and hot houses, but you never saw palmetto 
roots; and what curious things they are ! huge, hard, yel- 
lowish-brown stems, as thick as my arm, or thicker, ex- 
tending and ramifying under the ground in masses that 
seem hardly justified or accounted for by the elegant, 
light, spiky fans of dusky green foliage with which they 


fill the under part of the woods here. They look very 
tropical and picturesque, but both in shape and color sug- 
gest something metallic rather than vegetable ; the bronze- 
green hue and lance-like form of their foliage has an arid, 
hard character, that makes one think they could be manu- 
factured quite as well as cultivated. At first I was ex- 
tremely delighted with the novelty of their appearance ; 
but now I feel thirsty when I look at them, and the same 
with their kinsfolk, the yuccas and their intimate friends, 
if not relations, the prickly pears, with all of which once 
strange growth I have grown contemptuously familiar 

Did it ever occur to you what a strange affinity there 
is between the texture and color of the wild vegetables 
of these sandy Southern soils, and the texture and color 
of shells ? The prickly pear, and especially the round little 
cactus plants all covered with hairy spikes, are curiously 
suggestive of a family of round spiked shells, with which 
you, as well as myself, are doubtless familiar ; and though 
the splendid flame-color of some cactus blossoms never 
suggests any nature but that of flowers, I have seen some 
of a peculiar shade of yellow-pink, that resembles the min- 
gled tint on the inside of some elaborately colored shell, 
and the pale white and rose flowers of another kind have 
the coloring and almost texture of shell, much rather than 
of any vegetable substance. 

To-day I walked out without Jack, and, in spite of the 
terror of snakes with which he has contrived slightly to 
inoculate me, I did make a short exploring journey into 
the woods. I wished to avoid a plowed field, to the edge 
of which my wanderings had brought me ; but my dash 
into the woodland, though unpunished by an encounter 
with snakes, brought me only into a marsh as full of land- 
crabs as an ant-hill is of ants, and from which I had to re- 
treat ingloriously, finding my way home at last by the 


P have had, as usual, a tribe of visitors and petitioners 
ever since I came home. I will give you an account of 
those cases which had any thing beyond the average of 
interest in their details. One poor woman, named Molly, 
came to beg that I would, if possible, get an extension of 
their exemption from work after childbearing. The close 
of her argument was concise and forcible. "Missis, we 
hab urn pickanniny — tree weeks in de ospital, and den 
right out upon the hoe again — can we strong dat way, 
missis ? No I" And truly I do not see that they can. 
This poor creature has had eight children and two mis- 
carriages. All her children were dead but one. Another 
of my visitors was a divinely named but not otherwise di- 
vine Venus ; it is a favorite name among these sable folk, 
but, of course, must have been given originally in derision. 
The Aphrodite in question was a dirt-colored (convenient 
color I should say for these parts) mulatto. I could not 
understand how she came on this property, for she was 
the daughter of a black woman and the overseer of an es- 
tate to which her mother formerly belonged, and from 
which I suppose she was sold, exchanged, or given, as the 
case may be, to the owners of this plantation. She was 
terribly crippled with rheumatism, and came to beg for 
some flannel. She had had eleven children, five of whom 
had died, and two miscarriages. As she took her depart- 
ure, the vacant space she left on the other side of my writ- 
ing-table was immediately filled by another black figure 
with a bowed back and piteous face, one of the thousand 
" Mollies" on the estate, where the bewildering redun- 
dancy of their name is avoided by adding that of their 
husband ; so when the question, " Well, who are you ?" 
was answered with the usual genuflexion, and " I'se Molly, 
missis !" I, of course, went on with " whose Molly," and 
she went on to refer herself to the ownership (under Mr. 
and heaven) of one Tony, but proceeded to say that 


he was not her real husband. This appeal to an element 
of reality in the universally accepted fiction which passes 
here by the title of marriage surprised me ; and on asking 
her what she meant, she replied that her real husband had 
been sold from the estate for repeated attempts to run 
away. He had made his escape several times, and skulked 
starving in the woods and morasses, but had always been 
tracked and brought back, and flogged almost to death, 
and finally sold as an incorrigible runaway. What a 
spirit of indomitable energy the wretched man must have 
had, to have tried so often that hideously hopeless attempt 
to fly! I do not write you the poor woman's jargon, 
which was ludicrous ; for I can not write you the sighs, 
and tears, and piteous looks, and gestures, that made it 
pathetic ; of course she did not know whither or to whom 
her real husband had been sold ; but in the mean time 

Mr. K , that merciful Providence of the estate, had 

provided her with the above-named Tony, by whom she 
had had nine children, six of whom were dead ; she, too, 
had miscarried twice. She came to ask me for some flan- 
nel for her legs, which were all swollen with constant 
rheumatism, and to beg me to give her something to cure 
some bad sores and ulcers, which seemed to me dreadful 
enough in their present condition, but w r hich she said 
break out afresh and are twice as bad every summer. 
I have let my letter lie since the day before yesterday, 

dear E , having had no leisure to finish it. Yesterday 

morning I rode out to St. Clair's, where there used for- 
merly to be another negro settlement, and another house 

of Major 's. I had been persuaded to try one of the 

mares I had formerly told you of, and to be sure a more 
" curst" quadruped, and one more worthy of a Petruchio 
for a rider I did never back. Her temper was furious, 
her gait intolerable, her mouth the most obdurate that 
ever tugged against bit and bridle. It is not wise any 


where — here it is less wise than any where else in the 
world — to say, "Jamais de cette eau je ne boirai ;" but I 
think I will never ride that delightful creature Miss Kate 

I wrote you of my having been to a part of the estate 
called St. Clair's, where there was formerly another resi- 
dence of Major 's; nothing remains now of it but a 

ruined chimney of some of the offices, which is standing 
yet in the middle of what has become a perfect wilderness. 
At the best of times, with a large house, numerous house- 
hold, and paths, and drives of approach, and the usual ex- 
ternal conditions of civilization about it, a residence here 
would have been the loneliest that can well be imagined ; 
now it is the shaggiest desert of beautiful w T ood that I 
ever saw. The magnificent old oaks stand round the 
place in silent solemn grandeur; and among them I had 
no difficulty in recognizing, by the description Captain 

F had given me of it, the crumbling, shattered relic 

of a tree called Oglethorpe's oak. That worthy, valiant 
old governor had a residence here himself in the early 
days of the colony, when, under the influence of "Wesley, 
he vainly made such strenuous efforts to keep aloof from 
his infant province the sore curse of slavery. 

I rode almost the Avhole way through a grove of perfect 
evergreen. I had with me one of the men of the name of 
Hector, who has a good deal to do with the horses, and 
so had volunteered to accompany me, being one of the 
few negroes on the estate w r ho can sit a horse. In the 
course of our conversation, Hector divulged certain opin- 
ions relative to the comparative gentility of driving in a 
carriage and the vulgarity of walking, which sent me into 
fits of laughing ; at which he grinned sympathetically, and 
opened his eves very wide, but certainly without attaining 
the least insight into what must have appeared to him 
my very unaccountable and unreasonable merriment. 


Among various details of the condition of the people on the 
several estates in the island, he told me that a great num- 
ber of the men on all the different plantations had wives 
on the neighboring estates as well as on that to which 
they properly belonged. " Oh, but," said I, " Hector, you 
know that can not be ; a man has but one lawful wife." 
Hector knew this, he said, and yet seemed puzzled him- 
self, and rather puzzled me to account for the fact, that 
this extensive practice of bigamy was perfectly well known 
to the masters and overseers, and never in any way found 
fault with or interfered with. Perhaps this promiscuous 
mode of keeping up the slave population finds favor with 
the owners of creatures who are valued in the market at 
so much per head. This was a solution which occurred 
to me, but which I left my Trojan hero to discover, by 
dint of the profound pondering into which he fell. 

Not far from the house, as I was cantering home, I met 
S , and took her up on the saddle before me, an oper- 
ation which seemed to please her better than the vicious 
horse I was riding, whose various demonstrations of dis- 
like to the arrangement afforded my small equestrian ex- 
treme delight and triumph. My whole afternoon was 
spent in shifting my bed and bedroom furniture from a 
room on the ground floor to one above ; in the course of 
which operation a brisk discussion took place between 

M and my boy Jack, who was nailing on the vallence 

of the bed, and whom I suddenly heard exclaim, in an- 
swer to something she had said, " Well, den, I do tink so ; 
and dat's the speech of a man, whether um bond or free." 
A very trifling incident, and insignificant speech ; and yet 
it came back to my ears very often afterward — "the 
speech of a man, whether bond or free." They might be 
made conscious — some of them are evidently conscious — 
of an inherent element of manhood superior to the bitter 
accident of slavery, and to which, even in their degraded 


condition, they might be made to refer that vital self-re- 
spect which can survive all external pressure of mere cir- 
cumstance, and give their souls to that service of God, 
which is perfect freedom, in spite of the ignoble and cruel 
bondage of their bodies. 

My new apartment is what I should call decidedly airy ; 
the window, unless when styled by courtesy shut, which 
means admitting of draught enough to blow a candle out, 
must be wide open, being incapable of any intermediate 
condition ; the latch of the door, to speak the literal truth, 
does shut ; but it is the only part of it that does — that is, 
the latch and the hinges ; every where else its configura- 
tion is traced by a distinct line of light and air. If what 
old Dr. Physic used to say be true, that a draught which 
will not blow out a candle will blow out a man's life (a 
Spanish proverb originally I believe), my life is threatened 
with extinction in almost every part of this new room of 
mine, wherein, moreover, I now discover to my dismay, 
having transported every other article of bedroom furni- 
ture to it, it is impossible to introduce the wardrobe for 
my clothes. Well, our stay here is drawing to a close, 
and therefore these small items of discomfort can not af- 
flict me much longer. 

Among my visitors to-day was a poor woman named 
Oney, who told me her husband had gone away from her 
now for four years ; it seems he was the property of Mr. 

K , and when that gentleman went to slave-driving 

on his own account, and ceased to be the overseer of this 
estate, he carried her better half, who was his chattel, 
away with him, and she never expects to see him again. 
After her departure I had a most curious visitor, a young 
lad of the name of Renty, whose very decidedly mulatto 
tinge accounted, I suppose, for the peculiar disinvoltura 
of his carriage and manner ; he was evidently, in his own 
opinion, a very superior creature, and yet, as his conver- 


sation with me testified, he was conscious of some flaw in 
the honor of his " yellow" complexion. "Who is your 
mother, Ren ty ?" said I (I give you our exact dialogue). 
" Betty, head man Frank's wife." I was rather dismayed 
at the promptness of this reply, and hesitated a little at my 
next question, "Who is your father?" My sprightly 
young friend, however, answered, without an instant's 

pause, " Mr. K ." Here I came to a halt, and, willing 

to suggest some doubt to the lad, because for many pecul- 
iar reasons this statement seemed to me shocking, I said, 

" What, old Mr. K ?" « No, Massa R ." « Did 

your mother tell you so ?" " No, missis, me ashamed to 

ask her ; Mr. C 's children told me so, and I 'spect 

they know it." Renty, you see, did not take Falcon- 
bridge's view of such matters ; and as I was by no means 

sorry to find that he considered his relation to Mr. K 

a disgrace to his mother, which is an advance in moral 
perception not often met with here, I said no more upon 
the subject. 

Tuesday, March 3. This morning, old House Molly, 
coming from Mr. G 's upon some errand to me, I ask- 
ed her if Renty's statement was true ; she confirmed the 
whole story, and, moreover, added that this connection 
took place after Betty was married to head man Frank. 
Now he, you know, E , is the chief man at the rice- 
island, second in authority to Mr. O , and, indeed, for 

a considerable part of the year, absolute master and guard- 
ian during the night of all the people and property at the 
rice plantation ; for, after the early spring, the white over- 
seer himself is obliged to betake himself to the main land 
to sleep, out of the influence of the deadly malaria of the 
rice swamp, and Frank remains sole sovereign of the isl- 
and from sunset to sunrise — in short, during the whole 

period of his absence. Mr. bestowed the highest 

commendations upon his fidelity and intelligence, and, 


during the visit Mr. R K paid us at the island, 

he was emphatic in his praise of both Frank and his wife, 
the latter having, as he declared, by way of climax to his 
eulogies, quite the principles of a white woman. Perhaps 
she imbibed them from his excellent influence over her. 
Frank is a serious, sad, sober-looking, very intelligent 
man ; I should thiuk he would not relish having his w T ife 
borrowed from him even by the white gentleman who ad- 
mired her principles so -much ; and it is quite clear, from 
poor Renty's speech about his mother, that by some of 
these people (and if by any, then very certainly by Frank) 
the disgrace of such an injury is felt and appreciated much 
after the fashion of white men. 

This old woman Molly is a wonderfully intelligent, 
active, energetic creature, though considerably over sev- 
enty years old ; she was talking to me about her former 

master, Major , and what she was pleased to call the 

revelation w r ar (i.e., revolution war), during which that 
gentleman, having embraced the side of the rebellious col- 
onies in their struggle against England, was by no means 
on a bed of roses. He bore King George's commission, 
and was a major in the British army ; but having married 
a great Carolina heiress, and become proprietor of these 
plantations, sided w r ith the country of his adoption, and 
not that of his birth, in the war between them, and was a 
special object of animosity on that account to the English 
officers who attacked the sea-board of Georgia, and sent 
troops on shore and up the Altamaha to fetch off the ne- 
groes, or incite them to rise against their owners. • " De 
British," said Molly, "make old massa run about bery 
much in de great revelation war." He ran effectually, 
however, and contrived to save both his life and property 
from the invader. 

Molly's account was full of interest, in spite of the gro- 
tesque lingo in which it was delivered, and which once or 

A*.' *> 

old *f*Wl 3 j, ^U^e C^^ 


twice nearly sent me into convulsions of laughing, where- 
upon she apologized with great gravity for her mispro- 
nunciation, modestly suggesting that white words were 
impossible to the organs of speech of black folks. It is 
curious how universally any theory, no matter how ab- 
surd, is accepted by these people ; for any thing in which 
the contemptuous supremacy of the dominant race is ad- 
mitted, and their acquiescence in the theory of their own 
incorrigible baseness is so complete, that this, more than 
any other circumstance in their condition, makes me doubt- 
ful of their rising from it. 

In order to set poor dear old Molly's notions straight 
with regard to the negro incapacity for speaking plain the 
noble white words, I called S to me and set her talk- 
ing ; and having pointed out to Molly how very imperfect 
her mode of pronouncing many words was, convinced the 
worthy old negress that want of training, and not any ab- 
solute original impotence, was the reason why she disfig- 
ured the ichite icords, for which she had such a profound 
respect. In this matter, as in every other, the slaves pay 
back to their masters the evil of their own dealings with 
usury, though unintentionally. No culture, however slight, 
simple, or elementary, is permitted to these poor creatures, 
and the utterance of many of them is more like what 
Prospero describes Caliban's to have been, than the speech 
of men and women in a Christian and civilized land : the 
children of their owners, brought up among them, acquire 
their negro mode of talking — slavish speech surely it is — 
and it is distinctly perceptible in the utterances of all 
Southerners, particularly of the women, whose avocations, 
taking them less from home, are less favorable to their 
throwing oif this ignoble trick of pronunciation than the 
more varied occupation and the more extended and pro- 
miscuous business relations of men. The Yankee twang 
of the regular down Easter is not more easily detected by 


any ear, nice in enunciation and accent, than the thick ne- 
gro speech of the Southerners : neither is lovely or melo- 
dious ; but, though the Puritan snuffle is the harsher of 
the two, the slave slobber of the language is the more ig- 
noble, in spite of the softer voices of the pretty Southern 
women who utter it. 

I rode out to-day upon Miss Kate again, with Jack for 
my esquire. I made various vain attempts to ride through 
the woods, following the cattle-tracks ; they turned round 
and round into each other, or led out into the sandy pine 
barren, the eternal frame in which all nature is set here, 
the inevitable limit to the prospect, turn landward which 
way you will. The wood paths which I followed between 
evergreen thickets, though little satisfactory in their ulti- 
mate result, were really more beautiful than the most per- 
fect arrangement of artificial planting that I ever saw in 
an English park ; and I thought, if I could transplant the 
region which I was riding through bodily into the midst 
of some great nobleman's possessions on the other side of 
the water, how beautiful an accession it would be thought 
to them. I was particularly struck with the elegant 
growth of a profuse wild shrub I passed several times to- 
day, the leaves of which were pale green underneath, and 
a deep red, varnished brown above. 

I must give you an idea of the sort of service one is li- 
able to obtain from one's most intelligent and civilized 
servants hereabouts, and the consequent comfort and lux- 
ury of one's daily existence. Yesterday Aleck, the youth 
who fulfills the duties of what you call a waiter, and we 
in England a footman, gave me a salad for dinner, mixed 
with so large a portion of the soil in which it had grown 
that I requested him to-day to be kind enough to wash 

the lettuce before he brought it to table. M later in 

the day told me that he had applied to her very urgently 
for soap and a brush, " as missis wished de lettuce scrub- 


bed," a fate from which my second salad was saved by 
her refusal of these desired articles, and farther instruc- 
tions upon the subject. 

Dearest E , — I have been long promising poor old 

House Molly to visit her in her own cabin, and so the day 
before yesterday I walked round the settlement to her 
dwelling, and a most wretched hovel I found it. She has 
often told me of the special directions left by her old mas- 
ter for the comfort and well-being of her old age, and cer- 
tainly his charge has been but little heeded by his heirs, 
for the poor faithful old slave is most miserably off in 
her infirm years. She made no complaint, however, but 
seemed overjoyed at my coming to see her. She took 
me to the hut of her brother, old Jacob, where the same 
wretched absence of every decency and every comfort 
prevailed ; but neither of them seemed to think the con- 
dition that appeared so wretched to me one of peculiar 
hardship — though Molly's former residence in her mas- 
ter's house might reasonably have made her discontented 
with the lot of absolute privation to which she was now 
turned over — but, for the moment, my visit seemed to 
compensate for all sublunary sorrows, and she and poor 
old Jacob kept up a duet of rejoicing at my advent, and 
that I had brought " de little missis among um people 
afore they die." 

Leaving them, I went on to the house of Jacob's daugh- 
ter Hannah, with whom Psyche, the heroine of the rice- 
island story, and wife of his son Joe, lives. I found their 
cabin as tidy and comfortable as it could be made, and 
their children, as usual, neat and clean ; they are capital 
women, both of them, with an innate love of cleanliness 
and order most uncommon among these people. On my 
way home I overtook two of my daily suppliants, who 


were going to the house in search of rae, and meat, flan- 
nel, rice, and sugar, as the case might be ; they were both 
old and infirm-looking women, and one of them, called 
Scylla, was extremely lame, which she accounted for by 
an accident she had met with while carrying a heavy 
weight of rice on her head ; she had fallen on a sharp 
stake, or snag, as she called it, and had never recovered 
the injury she had received. She complained also of fall- 
ing of the womb. Her companion (who was not Chary b- 
dis, however, but Phoebe) was a cheery soul who com- 
plained of nothing, but begged for flannel. I asked her 
about her family and children ; she had no children left, 
nothing but grandchildren ; she had had nine children, 
and seven of them died quite young; the only two who 
grew up left her to join the British when they invaded 
Georgia in the last war, and their children, whom they 
left behind, were all her family now. 

In the afternoon I made my first visit to the hospital of 
the estate, and found it, as indeed I find every thing else 
here, in a far worse state even than the wretched estab- 
lishments on the rice-island, dignified by that name ; so 
miserable a place for the purpose to which it was dedica- 
ted I could not have imagined on a property belonging to 
Christian owners. The floor (which was not boarded, 
but merely the damp hard earth itself) was strewn with 
wretched women, who, but for their moans of pain, and 
uneasy, restless motions, might very well each have been 
taken for a mere heap of filthy rags; the chimney refus- 
ing passage to the smoke from the pine- wood fire, it puffed 
out in clouds through the room, where it circled and hung, 
only gradually oozing away through the windows, which 
were so far well adapted to the purpose that there was 
not a single whole pane of glass in them. My eyes, un- 
accustomed to the turbid atmosphere, smarted and wa- 
tered, and refused to distinguish at first the different dis- 


mal forms, from which cries and wails assailed me in every 
corner of the place. By degrees I was able to endure for 
a few minutes what they were condemned to live their 
hours and days of suffering and sickness through ; and, 
having given what comfort kind words and promises of 
help in more substantial forms could convey, I went on to 
what seemed a yet more wretched abode of wretchedness. 
This was a room where there was no fire because there 
was no chimney, and where the holes made for windows 
had no panes or glasses in them. The shutters being 
closed, the place was so dark that, on first entering it, I 
was afraid to stir lest I should fall over some of the de- 
plorable creatures extended upon the floor. As soon as 
they perceived me, one cry of' 4 Oh missis !" rang through 
the darkness ; and it really seemed to me as if I was never 
to exhaust the pity, and amazement, and disgust which 
this receptacle of suffering humanity was to excite in me. 
The poor dingy supplicating sleepers upraised themselves 
as I cautiously advanced among them ; those who could 
not rear their bodies from the earth held up piteous be- 
seeching hands, and as I passed from one to the other I 
felt more than one imploring clasp laid upon my dress, to 
solicit my attention to some new form of misery. One 
poor woman, called Tressa, who was unable to speak above 
a whisper from utter weakness and exhaustion, told me 
she had had nine children, was suffering from incessant 
flooding, and felt " as if her back would split open." There 
she lay, a mass of filthy tatters> without so much as a 
blanket under her or over her, on the bare earth in this 
chilly darkness. I promised them help and comfort, beds 
and blankets, and light and fire — that is, I promised to ask 

Mr. for all this for them; and, in the very act of doing 

so, I remembered with a sudden pang of anguish that I 
was to urge no more petitions for his slaves to their mas- 
ter. I groped my way out, and, emerging on the piazza, 


all the choking tears and sobs I bad controlled broke forth, 
and I leaned there crying over the lot of these unfortu- 
nates till I heard a feeble voice of " Missis, you no cry ; 
missis, what for you cry ?" and, looking up, saw that I had 
not yet done with this intolerable infliction. A poor crip- 
pled old man, lying in the corner of the piazza, unable even 
to crawl toward me, had uttered this word of consolation, 
and by his side (apparently too idiotic, as he was too im- 
potent, to move) sat a young woman, the expression of 
wlwse face Avas the most suffering, and, at the same time, 
the most horribly repulsive I ever saw. I found she was, 
as I supposed, half-witted ; and, on coming nearer to in- 
quire into her ailments and what I could do for her, found 
her suffering from that horrible disease — I believe some 
form of scrofula — to which the negroes are subject, which 
attacks and eats away the joints of their hands and fingers 
— a more hideous and loathsome object I never beheld ; 
her name was Patty, and she was granddaughter to the 
old crippled creature by whose side she was squatting. 

I wandered home, stumbling with crying as I went, 
and feeling so utterly miserable that I really hardly saw 
where I was going, for I as nearly as possible fell over a 
great heap of oyster-shells left in the middle of the path. 
This is a horrid nuisance, which results from an indul- 
gence which the people here have and value highly ; the 
waters round the island are prolific in shell-fish, oysters, 
and the most magnificent prawns I ever saw. The for- 
mer are a considerable article of the people's diet, and 
the shells are allowed to accumulate, as they are used in 
the composition of which their huts are built, and which 
is a sort of combination of mud and broken oyster-shells, 
which forms an agglomeration of a kind very solid and 
durable for such building purposes ; but, instead of being 
all carried to some specified place out of the way, these 
great heaps of oyster-shells are allowed to be piled up 


any where and every where, forming the most unsightly 
obstructions in every direction. Of course, the cultiva- 
tion of order for the sake of its own seemliness and beauty 
is not likely to be an element of slave existence ; and as 
masters have been scarce on this plantation for many 
years now, a mere unsightliness is not a matter likely to 
trouble any body much ; but, after my imminent over- 
throw by one of these disorderly heaps of refuse, I think 
I may make bold to request that the paths along which I 
am likely to take my daily walks may be kept free from 

On my arrival at home — at the house — I can not call 
any place here my home! — I found Renty waiting to 
exhibit to me an extremely neatly-made leather pouch, 
which he has made by my order, of fitting size and di- 
mensions to receive Jack's hatchet and saw. Jack and I 
have set up a sort of Sir Walter and Tom Purdie com- 
panionship of clearing and cutting paths through the 
woods nearest to the house; thinning the overhanging 
branches, clearing the small evergreen thickets which 
here and there close over and across the grassy track. 
To me this occupation was especially delightful until 
quite lately, since the weather began to be rather warmer 
and the snakes to slide about. Jack has contrived to in- 
oculate me with some portion of his terror of them ; but 
I have still a daily hankering after the lovely green wood 
walks ; perhaps, when once I have seen a live rattlesnake, 
my enthusiasm for them will be modified to the degree 
that his is. 

Dear E , — This letter has remained unfinished, and 

my journal interrupted for more than a week. Mr. 

has been quite unwell, and I have been traveling to and 
fro daily between Hampton and the rice-island in the 



long-boat to visit him ; for the last three days I have re- 
mained at the latter place, and only returned here this 
morning early. My daily voyages up and down the river 
have introduced me to a great variety of new musical per- 
formances of our boatmen, who invariably, when the row- 
ing is not too hard, moving up or down with the tide, 
accompany the stroke of their oars with the sound of 
their voices. I told you formerly that I thought I could 
trace distinctly some popular national melody with which 
I was familiar in almost all their songs ; but I have been 
quite at a loss to discover any such foundation for many 
that I have heard lately, and which have appeared to me 
extraordinarily wild and unaccountable. The way in 
which the chorus strikes in with the burden, between 
each phrase of the melody chanted by a single voice, is 
very curious and effective, especially with the rhythm of 
the rowlocks for accompaniment. The high voices all in 
unison, and the admirable time and true accent with which 
their responses are made, always make me wish that some 
great musical composer could hear these semi-savage per- 
formances. With a very little skillful adaptation and in- 
strumentation, I think one or two barbaric chants and 
choruses might be evoked from them that would make 
the fortune of an opera. 

The only exception that I have met with yet among 
our boat voices to the high tenor which they seem all to 
possess is in the person of an individual named Isaac, a 
basso profondo of the deepest dye, who nevertheless never 
attempts to produce with his different register any differ- 
ent effects in the chorus by venturing a second, but sings 
like the rest in unison, perfect unison, of both time and 
tune. By-the-by, this individual does speak, and there- 
fore I presume he is not an ape, orang-outang, chimpan- 
zee, or gorilla ; but I could not, I confess, have conceived 
it possible that the presence of articulate sounds, and the 


absence of an articulate tail, should make, externally at 
least, so completely the only appreciable difference be- 
tween a man and a monkey, as they appear to do in this 
individual " black brothe'r." Such stupendous long thin 
hands, and long flat feet, I did never see off a large quad- 
ruped of the ape species. But, as I said before, Isaac 
speaks, and I am much comforted thereby. 

You can not think (to return to the songs of my boat- 
men) how strange some of their words are : in one, they 
repeatedly chanted the " sentiment" that " God made man, 
and man makes" — what do you think? — "money!" Is 
not that a peculiar poetical proposition ? Another ditty 
to which they frequently treat me they call Caesar's song ; 
it is an extremely spirited war-song, beginning " The trum- 
pets blow, the bugles sound — Oh, stand your ground !" It 
has puzzled me not a little to determine in my own mind 
whether this title of Cassar's song has any reference to 
the great Julius, and, if so, what may be the negro notion 
of him, and whence and how derived. One of their songs 
displeased me not a little, for it embodied the opinion 
that "twenty-six black girls not make mulatto yellow 
girl ;" and as I told them I did not like it, they have 
omitted it since. This desperate tendency to despise and 
undervalue their own race and color, wmich is one of the 
very worst results of their abject condition, is intolerable 
to me. 

While rowing up and down the broad w T aters of the 
Altamaha to the music of these curious chants, I have 
been reading Mr. Moore's speech about the abolition of 
slavery in the District of Columbia, and I confess I think 
his the only defensible position yet taken, and the only 
consistent argument yet used in any of the speeches I 
have hitherto seen upon the subject. 

I have now settled down at Hampton again ; Mr. 

is quite recovered, and is coming down here in a day or 


two for change of air ; it is getting too late for him to 
stay on the rice plantation even in the day, I think. You 
can not imagine any thing so exquisite as the perfect cur- 
tains of yellow jasmine with which this whole island is 
draped ; and as the boat comes sweeping down toward 
the Point, the fragrance from the thickets hung with their 
golden garlands greets one before one can distinguish 
them ; it is really enchanting. 

I have now to tell you of my hallowing last Sunday by 
gathering a congregation of the people into my big sit- 
ting-room, and reading prayers to them. I had been 
wishing very much to do this for some time past, and ob- 
tained Mr. 's leave while I was with him at the rice- 
island, and it was a great pleasure to me. Some of the 
people are allowed to go up to Darien once a month to 
church ; but, with that exception, they have no religious 
service on Sunday whatever for them. There is a church 
on the island of St. Simon, but they are forbidden to fre- 
quent it, as it leads them off their own through neighbor- 
ing plantations, and gives opportunities for meetings be- 
tween the negroes of the different estates, and very likely 
was made the occasion of abuses and objectionable prac- 
tices of various kinds ; at any rate, Mr. K forbade 

the Hampton slaves resorting to the St. Simon's church, 
and so for three Sundays in the month they are utterly 
without Christian worship or teaching, or any religious 
observance of God's day whatever. 

I was very anxious that it should not be thought that 
I ordered any of the people to come to prayers, as I par- 
ticularly desired to see if they themselves felt the want 
of any Sabbath service, and would of their own accord 
join in any such ceremony; I therefore merely told the 
house servants that if they would come to the sitting- 
room at eleven o'clock, I would read prayers to them, 
and that they might tell any of their friends or any of the 


people that I should be very glad to see them if they liked 
to come. Accordingly, most of those who live at the 
Point, i. e., in the immediate neighborhood of the house, 
came, and it was encouraging to see the very decided ef- 
forts at cleanliness and decorum of attire which they had 
all made. I was very much affected and impressed my- 
self by what I was doing, and I suppose must have com- 
municated some of my own feeling to those who heard 
me. It is an extremely solemn thing to me to read the 
Scriptures aloud to any one, and there was something in 
my relation to the poor people by whom I was surround- 
ed that touched me so deeply while thus attempting to 
share with them the best of my possessions, that I found 
it difficult to command my voice, and had to stop several 
times in order to do so. When I had done, they all with 
one accord uttered the simple words, " We thank you, 
missis," and instead of overwhelming me as usual with 
petitions and complaints, they rose silently and quietly, 
in a manner that would have become the most orderly of 
Christian congregations accustomed to all the impressive 
decorum of civilized church privileges. Poor people! 
They are said to have what a very irreligious young En- 
glish clergyman once informed me I had — a " turn for re- 
ligion." They seem to me to have a " turn" for instinc- 
tive good manners too ; and certainly their mode of with- 
drawing from my room after our prayers bespoke either 
a strong feeling of their own, or a keen appreciation of 

I have resumed my explorations in the woods with re- 
newed enthusiasm, for during my week's absence they 
have become more lovely and enticing than ever: unluck- 
ily, however, Jack seems to think that fresh rattlesnakes 
have budded together with the tender spring foliage, and 
I see that I shall either have to give up my wood walks 
and rides, or go without a guide. Lovely blossoms are 


springing up every where — weeds, of course, wild things, 
impertinently so called. Nothing is cultivated here but 
cotton ; but in some of the cotton-fields beautiful crea- 
tures are peeping into blossom, which I suppose will all 
be duly hoed off the surface of the soil in proper season ; 
meantime I rejoice in them, and in the splendid, magnifi- 
cent thistles, which would be in flower-gardens in other 
parts of the world, and in the wonderful, strange, beau- 
tiful butterflies that seem to me almost as big as birds, 
that go zigzagging in the sun. I saw yesterday a lovely 
monster, who thought proper, for my greater delectation, 
to alight on a thistle I w T as admiring, and as the flower 
was purple, and he was all black velvet fringed with gold, 
I was exceedingly pleased with his good inspiration. 

This morning I drove up to the settlement at St. An- 
nie's, having various bundles of benefaction to carry in the 
only equipage my estate here affords — an exceedingly 
small, rough, and uncomfortable cart, called the sick-house 
wagon, inasmuch as it is used to convey to the hospital 
such of the poor people as are too ill to walk there. Its 
tender mercies must be terrible indeed for the sick, for I, 
who am sound, could very hardly abide them ; however, 
I suppose Montreal's pace is moderated for them : to-day 
he went rollicking along with us behind him, shaking his 
fine head and mane, as if he thought the more we were 
jolted the better we should like it. We found, on trying 
to go on to Cartwright's Point, that the state of the tide 
w T ould not admit of our getting thither, and so had to re- 
turn, leaving it unvisited. It seems to me strange that, 
where the labor of so many hands might be commanded, 
piers, and wharves, and causeways are not thrown out 
(wooden ones, of course, I mean) wherever the common 
traffic to or from different parts of the plantation is thus 
impeded by the daily rise and foil of the river ; the trouble 
and expense would be nothing, and the gain in conven- 


ience very considerable. However, perhaps the nature of 
the tides, and of the banks and shores themselves, may 
not be propitious for such constructions, and I rather in- 
cline, upon reflection, to think this may be so, because to 

go from Hampton to our neighbor Mr. C 's plantation, 

it is necessary to consult the tide in order to land conven- 
iently. Driving home to-day by Jones's Creek, we saw 
an immovable row of white cranes, all standing with im- 
perturbable gravity upon one leg. I thought of Boccac- 
cio's cook, and had a mind to say Ha ! at them, to try if 

they had two. I have been over to Mr. C 's, and was 

very much pleased with my visit, but will tell you of it in 
my next. 

Dear E , — I promised to tell you of my visit to my 

neighbor Mr. C , which pleased and interested me very 

much. He is an old Glasgow man, who has been settled 
here many years. It is curious how many of the people 
round this neighborhood have Scotch names ; it seems 
strange to find them thus gathered in the vicinity of a 
new Darien ; but those in our immediate neighborhood 
seem to have found it a far less fatal region than their 

countrymen did its namesake of the Isthmus. Mr. C 's 

house is a roomy, comfortable, handsomely laid-out man- 
sion, to which he received me with very cordial kindness, 
and where I spent part of a very pleasant morning, talk- 
ing with him, hearing all he could tell me of the former 

history of Mr. 's plantation. His description of its 

former master, old Major , and of his agent and over- 
seer Mr. K , and of that gentleman's worthy son and 

successor the late overseer, interested me very much ; of 
the two latter functionaries his account was terrible, and 
much what I had supposed any impartial account of them 
would be ; because, let the propensity to lying of the poor 


wretched slaves be what it will, they could not invent, 
with a common consent, the things that they one and all 
tell me with reference to the manner in which they have 
been treated by the man who has just left the estate, and 
his father, who for the last nineteen years have been sole 
sovereigns of their bodies and souls. The crops have sat- 
isfied the demands of the owners, who, living in Philadel- 
phia, have been perfectly contented to receive a large in- 
come from their estate without apparently caring how it 
was earned. The stories that the poor peo]:>le tell me of 
the cruel tyranny under which they have lived are not 
complaints, for they are of things past and gone, and very 
often, horridly as they shock and affect me, they them- 
selves seem hardly more than half conscious of the misery 
their condition exhibits to me, and they speak of things 
which I shudder to hear of almost as if they had been 
matters of course with them. 

Old Mr. C spoke with extreme kindness of his own 

jDeople, and had evidently bestowed much humane and 
benevolent pains upon endeavors to better their condition. 
I asked him if he did not think the soil and climate of this 
part of Georgia admirably suited to the cultivation of the 
mulberry and the rearing of the silkworm; for it has ap- 
peared to me that hereafter silk may be made one of the 
most profitable products of this whole region : he said 
that that had long been his opinion, and he had at one 
time had it much at heart to try the experiment, and had 

proposed to Major to join him in it, on a scale large 

enough to test it satisfactorily ; but he said Mr. K 

opposed the scheme so persistently that of course it was 
impossible to carry it out, as his agency and co-operation 
were indispensable ; and that in like manner he had sug- 
gested sowing turnip crops, and planting peach-trees for 
the benefit and use of the people on the Hampton estate, 
experiments which he had tried with excellent success on 

C\ovokcc looses ir^ 0> ~7 *\< 

e 7 


his own ; but all these plans for the amelioration and 
progress of the people's physical condition had been ob- 
structed and finally put entirely aside by old Mr. K 

and his son, who, as Mr. C said, appeared to give sat- 
isfaction to their employers, so it was not his business to 
find fault with them ; he said, however, that the whole 
condition and treatment of the slaves had changed from 

the time of Major 's death, and that he thought it 

providential for the poor people that Mr. K should 

have left the estate, and the young gentleman, the pres- 
ent owner, come down to look after the people. 

He showed me his garden, from whence come the beau- 
tiful vegetables he had more than once supplied me with ; 
in the midst of it was a very fine and flourishing date- 
palm-tree, which he said bore its fruit as prosperously 
here as it would in Asia. After the garden we visited a 
charming, nicely-kept poultry-yard, and I returned home 
much delighted with my visit and the kind good-humor 
of my host. 

In the afternoon I sat as usual at the receipt of custom, 
hearing of aches and pains till I ached myself sympathet- 
ically from head to foot. 

Yesterday morning, dear E , I went on horseback 

to St. Annie's, exploring on my way some beautiful woods, 
and in the afternoon I returned thither in a wood-wagon, 
with Jack to drive and a mule to draw me, Montreal be- 
ing quite beyond his management; and then and there, 
the hatchet and saw being in company, I compelled my 
slave Jack, all the rattlesnakes in creation to the contrary 
notwithstanding, to cut and clear a way for my chariot 
through the charming copse. 

My letter has been lying unfinished for the last three 
days. I have been extraordinarily busy, having emanci- 
pated myself from the trammels of Jack and all his terror, 
and as I fear no serpents on horseback, have been daily 



riding through new patches of woodland without any 
guide, taking my chance of what I might come to in the 
shape of impediments. Last Tuesday I rode through a 
whole wood of burned and charred trees, cypresses and 
oaks, that looked as if they had been each of them blasted 
by a special thunderbolt, and whole thickets of young 
trees and shrubs perfectly black and brittle from the ef- 
fect of fire, I suppose the result of some carelessness of 
the slaves. As this charcoal woodland extended for some 
distance, I turned out of it, and round the main road 
through the plantation, as I could not ride through the 
blackened boughs and branches without getting begrimed. 
It had a strange, wild, desolate effect, not without a cer- 
tain gloomy picturesquencss. 

In the afternoon I made Israel drive me through Jack's 
new-made path to break it down and open it still more, 
and Montreal's powerful trampling did good service to 
that effect, though he did not seem to relish the narrow 
wood road with its grass path by any means as much as 
the open way of w T hat may be called the high road. Aft- 
er this operation I went on to visit the people at the Bus- 
son Hill settlement. I here found, among other notewor- 
thy individuals, a female named Judy, whose two children 
belong to an individual called (not Punch, but) Joe, who 
has another wife, called Mary, at the rice-island. In one 
of the huts I went to leave some flannel, and rice, and sug- 
ar for a poor old creature called Nancy, to whom I had 
promised such indulgences : she is exceedingly infirm and 
miserable, suffering from sore limbs and an ulcerated leg 
so cruelly that she can hardly find rest in any position 
from the constant pain she endures, and is quite unable to 
lie on her hard bed at night. As I bent over her to-day, 
trying to prop her into some posture where she might find 
some ease, she took hold of my hand, and with the tears 
streaming over her face, said, " I have worked every day 


through dew and damp, and sand and heat, and done good 
work ; but oh, missis, me old and broken now ; no tongue 
can tell how much I suffer." In spite of their curious 
thick utterance and comical jargon, these people some- 
times use wonderfully striking and pathetic forms of 
speech. In the next cabin, which consisted of an inclo- 
sure called by courtesy a room, certainly not ten feet 
square, and owned by a woman called Dice — that is, not 
owned, of course, but inhabited by her — three grown-up 
human beings and eight children stow themselves by day 
and night, which may be ,called close packing, I think. I 
presume that they must take turns to be inside and out- 
side the house, but they did not make any complaint about 
it, though I should think the aspect of my countenance, as 
I surveyed their abode and heard their numbers, might 
have given them a hint to that effect ; but I really do find 
these poor creatures patient of so much misery, that it in- 
clines me the more to heed as well as hear their petitions 
and complaints when they bring them to me. 

After my return home I had my usual evening recep- 
tion, and, among other pleasant incidents of plantation 
life, heard the following agreeable anecdote from a wom- 
an named Sophy, who came to beg for some rice. In ask- 
ing her about her husband and children, she said she had 
never had any husband ; that she had had two children 
by a white man of the name of Walker, who was employ- 
ed at the mill on the rice-island ; she was in the hospital 
after the birth of the second child she bore this man, and 
at the same time two women, Judy and Sylla, of whose 

children Mr. K was the father, were recovering from 

their confinements. It was not a month since any of them 
had been delivered, when Mrs. K came to the hospi- 
tal, had them all three severely flogged, a process which 
she personally superintended, and then sent them to Five 
Pound — the swamp Botany Bay of the plantation, of 


whioh I have told you — with farther orders to the drivers 
to flog them every day for a week. Now, E — — , if I 
make you sick with these disgusting stories, I can not 
help it; they are the life itself here ; hitherto I have 
thought these details intolerable enough, but this appari- 
tion of a female fiend in the middle of this hell I confess 
adds an clement of cruelty which seems to me to surpass 
all the rest. Jealousy is not an uncommon quality in the 
feminine temperament ; and just conceive the fate of these 
unfortunate women between the passions of their masters 
and mistresses, each alike armed with power to oppress 
and torture them. Sophy went on to say that Isaac was 
her son by Driver Morris, who had forced her while she 
was in her miserable exile at Five Pound. Almost be- 
yond my patience with this string of detestable details, I 
exclaimed — foolishly enough, heaven knows — " Ah ! but 
don't you know — did nobody ever tell or teach any of 
you that it is a sin to live with men who are not your hus- 
bands ?" Alas ! E , what could the poor creature an- 
swer but what she did, seizing me at the same time vehe- 
mently by the wrist : " Oh yes, missis, we know — we know 
all about dat well enough ; but we do any thing to get 
our poor flesh some rest from de whip ; when he made 
me follow him into de bush, what use me tell him no? he 
have strength to make me." I have written down the 
woman's words ; I wish I could write down the voice and 
look of abject misery with which they w r ere spoken. Now 
you will observe that the story was not told to me as a 
complaint ; it was a thing long past and over, of which 
she only spoke in the natural course of accounting for her 
children to me. I make no comment ; what need, or can 
I add, to such stories ? But how is such a state of things 
to endure ? and again, how is it to end ? While I was 
pondering, as it seemed to me, at the very bottom of the 
Slough of Despond, on this miserable creature's story, an- 


other woman came in (Tema), carrying in her arms a child 
the image of the mulatto Bran ; she came to beg for flan- 
nel. I asked her who was her husband. She said she 
was not married. Her child is the child of Bricklayer 
Temple, who has a wife at the rice-island. By this time, 
what do you think of the moralities, as well as the amen- 
ities, of slave life ? These are the conditions which can 
only be known to one who lives among them ; flagrant 
acts of cruelty may be rare, but this ineffable state of ut- 
ter degradation, this really beastly existence, is the nor- 
mal condition of these men and women, and of that no one 
seems to take heed, nor have I ever heard it described, so 
as to form any adequate conception of it, till I found my- 
self plunged into it ; where and how is one to begin the 
cleansing of this horrid pestilential immondezzio of an ex- 
istence ? 

It is Wednesday, the 20th of March ; we can not stay 
here much longer ; I wonder if I shall come back again ! 
and whether, when I do, I shall find the trace of one idea 
of a better life left in these poor people's minds by my so- 
journ among them. 

One of my industries this morning has been cutting out 
another dress for one of our women, who had heard of my 
tailoring prowess at the rice-island. The material, as 
usual, was a miserable cotton, many-colored like the scarf 
of Iris. "While shaping it for my client, I ventured to sug- 
gest the idea of the possibility of a change of the nether- 
most as well as the uppermost garment. This, I imagine, 
is a conception that has never dawned upon the female 
slave mind on this plantation. They receive twice a year 
a certain supply of clothing, and wear them (as I have 
heard some nasty fine ladies do their stays, for fear they 
should get out of shape), without washing, till they receive 
the next suit. Under these circumstances I think it is 
unphilosophical, to say the least of it, to speak of the ne- 


groes as a race whose unfragrance is heaven-ordained, and 
the result of special organization. 

I must tell you that I have been delighted, surprised, 
and the very least perplexed, by the sudden petition on 
the part of our young waiter, Aleck, that I will teach him 
to read. He is a very intelligent lad of about sixteen, 
and preferred his request with an urgent humility that 
was very touching. I told him I would think about it. I 
mean to do it. I will do it ; and yet, it is simply break- 
ing the laws of the government under which I am living. 
Unrighteous laws are made to be broken — perhaps — but 

then, you see, I am a woman, and Mr. stands between 

me and the penalty. If I were a man, I would do that 
and many a thing besides, and doubtless should be shot 
some fine day from behind a tree by some good neighbor, 
who would do the community a service by quietly getting 
rid of a mischievous incendiary; and I promise you, in 
such a case, no questions would be asked, and my lessons 
would come to a speedy and silent end; but teaching 
slaves to read is a finable offense, and I ara/ewe couverte, 
and my fines must be paid by my legal owner, and the 
first offense of the sort is heavily fined, and the second 
more heavily fined, and for the third, one is sent to prison. 
What a pity it is I can't begin with Aleck's third lesson, 
because going to prison can't be done by proxy, and that 
penalty would light upon the right shoulders ! I certain- 
ly intend to teach Aleck to read. I certainly won't tell 

Mr. any thing about it. I'll leave him to find it out, 

as slaves, and servants, and children, and all oppressed, 
and ignorant, and uneducated and unprincipled people do ; 
then, if he forbids me, I can stop — perhaps before then 
the lad may have learned his letters. I begin to perceive 
one most admirable circumstance in this slavery : you are 
absolute on your own plantation. No slaves' testimony 
avails against you, and no white testimony exists but such 


as you choose to admit. Some owners have a fancy for 
maiming their slaves, some brand them, some pull out 
their teeth, some shoot them a little here and there (all 
details gathered from advertisements of runaway slaves in 
Southern papers) ; now they do all this on their planta- 
tions, where nobody comes to see, and I'll teach Aleck to 
read, for nobody is here to see, at least nobody whose see- 
ing I mind ; and I'll teach every other creature that wants 
to learn. I haven't much more than a week to remain in 
this blessed purgatory ; in that last week perhaps I may 
teach the boy enough to go on alone when I am gone. 

Thursday, 2\st. I took a long ride to-day all through 
some new woods and fields, and finally came upon a large 
space sown with corn for the people. Here I was accost- 
ed by such a shape as I never beheld in the worst of my 
dreams ; it looked at first, as it came screaming toward 
me, like a live specimen of the arms of the Isle of Man, 
which, as you may or may not know, are three legs joined 
together, and kicking in different directions. This uncouth 
device is not an invention of the Manxmen, for it is found 
on some very ancient coins — Greek, I believe ; but, at any 
rate, it is now the device of our subject Island of Man, 
and, like that set in motion, and nothing else, was the ob- 
ject that approached me, only it had a head where the 
three legs were joined, and a voice came out of the head 
to this effect : " Oh, missis, you hab to take me out of dis 
here bird-field ; me no able to run after birds, and ebery 
night me lick because me no run after dem." When this 
apparition reached me and stood as still as it could, I per- 
ceived it consisted of a boy who said his name was "Jack 
de bird-driver." I suppose some vague idea of the fitness 
of things had induced them to send this living scarecrow 
into the cornfield, and if he had been set up in the midst 
of it, nobody, I am sure, would have imagined he was any 
thing else ; but it seems he was expected to run after the 


feathered fowl who alighted on the grain-field, and I do not 
wonder that he did not fulfill this expectation. His feet, 
legs, and knees were all maimed and distorted, his legs 
were nowhere thicker than my wrist, his feet were a yard 
apart from each other, and his knees swollen and knocking 
together. What a creature to run after birds! He im- 
plored me to give him some meat, and have him sent back 
to Little St. Simon's Island, from which he came, and 
where he said his poor limbs were stronger and better. 

Riding home, I passed some sassafras-trees, which are 
putting forth deliciously fragrant tassels of small leaves 
and blossoms, and other exquisite flowering shrubs, which 
are new to me, and enchant me perhaps all the more for 
their strangeness. Before reaching the house I was 
stopped by one of our multitudinous Jennies with a re- 
quest for some meat, and that I would help her with some 
clothes for Ben and Daphne, of whom she had the sole 
charge ; these are two extremely pretty and interesting- 
looking mulatto children, whose resemblance to Mr. 

K had induced me to ask Mr. , when first I saw 

them, if he did not think they must be his children. He 

said they were certainly like him, but Mr. K did not 

acknowledge the relationship. I asked Jenny who their 
mother was. "Minda." "Who their father ?" "Mr. 

K ." "What! old Mr. K ?" "No, Mr. R 

K ." " Who told you so ?" " Minda, who ought to 

know." "Mr. K denies it." "That's because he 

never has looked upon them, nor done a thing for them." 
" Well, but he acknowledged Renty as his son, why should 
lie deny these?" "Because old master was here then 
when Renty was born, and he made Betty tell all about 

it, and Mr. K had to own it; but nobody knows any 

thing about this, and so he denies it" — with which infor- 
mation I rode home. I always give you an exact report 
of any conversation I may have with any of the people, 


and you see from this that the people on the plantation 

themselves are much of my worthy neighbor Mr. C 's 

mind, that the death of Major was a great misfor- 
tune for the slaves on his estate. 

I went to the hospital this afternoon to see if the con- 
dition of the poor people was at all improved since I had 
been last there ; but nothing had been done. I suppose 

Mr. G is waiting for Mr. to come down in order 

to speak to him about it. I found some miserable new 
cases of women disabled by hard work. One poor thing, 
called Priscilla, had come out of the fields to-day scarcely 
able to crawl ; she has been losing blood for a whole fort- 
night without intermission, and, until to-day, was labor- 
ing in the fields. Leah, another new face since I visited 
the hospital last, is lying quite helpless from exhaustion ; 
she is advanced in her pregnancy, and doing task-work in 
the fields at the same time. What piteous existences, to 
be sure ! I do wonder, as I walk among them, well fed, 
well clothed, young, strong, idle, doing nothing but ride 
and drive about all day, a woman, a creature like them- 
selves, who have borne children too, what sort of feeling 
they have toward me. I wonder it is not one of murder- 
ous hate — that they should lie here almost dying with un- 
repaid labor for me. I stand and look at them, and these 
thoughts work in my mind and heart, till I feel as if I 
must tell them how dreadful and how monstrous it seems 
to me myself, and how bitterly ashamed and grieved I 
feel for it all. 

To-day I rode in the morning round poor Cripple Jack's 
bird-field again, through the sweet, spicy-smelling pine 
land, and home by my new road cut through Jones's wood, 
of which I am as proud as if I had made instead of found 
it — the grass, flowering shrubs, and all. In the afternoon 
I drove in the wood-wagon back to Jones's, and visited 
Busson Hill on the way, with performances of certain 


promises of flannel, quarters of dollars, etc., etc. At Jones's, 
the women to-day had all done their work at a quarter 
past three, and had swept their huts out very scrupulously 
for my reception. Their dwellings are shockingly dilapi- 
dated and overcrammed — poor creatures ! — and it seems 
hard that, while exhorting them to spend labor in clean- 
ing and making them tidy, I can not promise them that 
they shall be repaired and made habitable for them. 

In driving home through my new wood cut, Jack gave 
me a terrible account of a flogging that a negro called 
Glasgow had received yesterday. He seemed awfully im- 
pressed with it, so I suppose it must have been an un- 
usually severe punishment; but he either would not or 
could not tell me w r hat the man had done. On my return 

to the house I found Mr. had come down from the 

rice plantation, whereat I was much delighted on all ac- 
counts. I am sure it is getting much too late for him to 
remain in that pestilential swampy atmosphere ; besides, 
I want him to see my improvements in the new wood 
paths, and I want him to come and hear all these poor 
people's complaints and petitions himself. They have 
been flocking in to see him ever since it was known he 
had arrived. I met coming on that errand Dandy, the 
husband of the woman for whom I cut out the gown the 
other day ; and asking him how it had answered, he gave 
a piteous account of its tearing all to pieces the first time 
she put it on ; it had appeared to me perfectly rotten 
and good for nothing, and, upon questioning him as to 
■where he bought it and what he paid for it, I had to hear 
a sad account of hardship and injustice. I have told you 
that the people collect moss from the trees and sell it to 
the shopkeepers in Darien for the purpose of stuffing fur- 
niture ; they also raise poultry, and are allowed to dispose 
of the eggs in the same way. It seems that poor Dandy 
had taken the miserable material Edie's gown was made 


of as payment for a quantity of moss and eggs furnished 
by him at various times to one of the Darien storekeepers, 
who refused him payment in any other shape, and the poor 
fellow had no redress ; and this, he tells me, is a frequent 
experience with all the slaves both here and at the rice- 
island. Of course, the rascally shopkeepers can cheat 
these poor wretches to any extent they please with per- 
fect impunity. 

Mr. told me of a visit Renty paid him, which was 

not a little curious in some of its particulars. You know 
none of the slaves are allowed the use of fire-arms ; but 

Renty put up a petition to be allowed Mr. K 's gun, 

which it seems that gentleman left behind him. Mr. 

refused this petition, saying at the same time to the lad 
that he knew very well that none of the people were 
allowed guns. Renty expostulated on the score of his 
lohite blood, and finding his master uninfluenced by that 
consideration, departed with some severe reflections on 

Mr. K , his father, for not having left him his gun as 

a keepsake, in token of (paternal) affection, when he left 
the plantation. 

It is quite late, and I am very tired, though I have not 
done much more than usual to-day, but the weather is be- 
ginning to be oppressive to me, who hate heat ; but I find 
the people, and especially the sick in the hospital, speak 
of it as cold. I will tell you hereafter of a most comical 

account Mr. has given me of the prolonged and still 

protracted pseudo-pregnancy of a woman called Markie, 
who for many more months than are generally required 
for the process of continuing the human species, pretend- 
ed to be what the Germans pathetically and poetically 
call "in good hope," and continued to reap increased ra- 
tions as the reward of her expectation, till she finally had 
to disappoint the estate and receive a flogging. 

He told me, too, what interested me very much, of a 


conspiracy among Mr. C 's slaves some years ago. 

I can not tell you about it now ; I will some other time. 
It is wonderful to me that such attempts are not being 
made the whole time among these people to regain their 
liberty ; probably because many are made ineffectually, 
and never known beyond the limits of the plantation 
where they take place. 

Dear E , — We have been having something like 

Northern March weather — blinding sun, blinding wind, 
and blinding dust, through all which, the day before yes- 
terday, Mr. and I rode together round most of the 

fields, and over the greater part of the plantation. It was 
a detestable process, the more so that he rode Montreal 
and I Miss Kate, and we had no small difficulty in mana- 
ging them both. In the afternoon we had an equally de- 
testable drive through the new wood paths to St. Annie's, 
and having accomplished all my errands among the peo- 
ple there, we crossed over certain sounds, and seas, and 
separating waters, to pay a neighborly visit to the wife 
of one of our adjacent planters. 

How impossible it would be for you to conceive, even 
if I could describe, the careless desolation which pervaded 
the whole place ; the shaggy unkempt grounds we passed 
through to approach the house; the ruinous, rackrent, 
tumble-down house itself; the untidy, slatternly, all but 
beggarly appearance of the mistress of the mansion her- 
self. The smallest Yankee farmer has a tidier estate, a 
tidier house, and a tidier wife than this member of the 
proud Southern chivalry, who, however, inasmuch as he 
has slaves, is undoubtedly a much greater personage in 

his own estimation than those capital fellows W and 

B , who walk in glory and in joy behind their plows 

upon your mountain sides. The Brunswick Canal project 

<b^ V-Ve 5^ove jkV- ?$*»i ^K>v> 130 1'-*,!^ 


was descanted upon, and pronounced, without a shadow 
of dissent, a scheme the impracticability of which all but 
convicted its projectors of insanity. Certainly, if, as I 
hear, the moneyed men of Boston have gone largely into 
this speculation, their habitual sagacity must have been 
seriously at fault, for here on the spot nobody mentions 
the project but as a subject of utter derision. 

While the men discussed about this matter, Mrs. B 

favored me with the congratulations I have heard so many 
times on the subject of my having a white nursery-maid 
for my children. Of course, she went into the old subject 
of the utter incompetency of negro women to discharge 
such an office faithfully ; but, in spite of her multiplied 
examples of their utter inefficiency, I believe the discus- 
sion ended by simply our both agreeing that ignorant ne- 
gro girls of twelve years old are not as capable or trust- 
worthy as well-trained white women of thirty. 

Returning home, our route was changed, and Quash the 
boatman took us all the way round by water to Hampton. 
I should have told you that our exit was as wild as our 
entrance to this estate, and was made through a broken 
wooden fence, which we had to climb partly over and 
partly under, with some risk and some obloquy, in spite 
of our dexterity, as I tore my dress, and very nearly fell 
flat on my face in the process. Our row home was per- 
fectly enchanting; for, though the morning's wind and 
(I suppose) the state of the tide had roughened the waters 
of the great river, and our passage was not as smooth as 
it might have been, the wind had died away, the evening 
air was deliciously still, and mild, and soft. A young slip 
of a moon glimmered just above the horizon, and "the 
stars climbed up the sapphire steps of heaven," while we 
made our way over the rolling, rushing, foaming waves, 
and saw to right and left the marsh fires burning in the 
swampy meadows, adding another colored light in the 


landscape to the amber-tinted lower sky and the violet 
arch above, and giving wild picturesqueness to the whole 
scene by throwing long flickering rays of flame upon the 
distant waters. 

Sunday, the 14th. I read service again to-day to the 
people. You can not conceive any thing more impressive 
than the silent devotion of their whole demeanor while it 
lasted, nor more touching than the profound thanks with 
which they rewarded me when it was over, and they took 
their leave ; and to-day they again left me with the utmost 
decorum of deportment, and without pressing a single pe- 
tition or complaint such as they ordinarily thrust upon 
me on all other occasions, which seems to me an instinct- 
ive feeling of religious respect for the day and the business 
they have come upon, which does them infinite credit. 

In the afternoon I took a long walk with the chicks in 
the woods — long at least for the little legs of S — — and 

M , who carried baby. We came home by the shore, 

and I stopped to look at a jutting point, just below which 
a sort of bay would have afforded the most capital posi- 
tion for a bathing-house. If we staid here late in the sea- 
son, such a refreshment would become almost a necessary 
of life, and any where along the bank just where I stopped 
to examine it to-day an establishment for that purpose 
might be prosperously founded. 

I am amused, but by no means pleased, at an entirely 
new mode of pronouncing which S has adopted. Ap- 
parently the negro jargon has commended itself as eupho- 
nious to her infantile ears, and she is now treating me to 
the most ludicrous and accurate imitations of it every 
time she opens her mouth. Of course I shall not allow 
this, comical as it is, to become a habit. This is the way 
the Southern ladies acquire the thick and inelegant pro- 
nunciation which distinguishes their utterances from the 
Northern snuffle, and I have no desire that S should 


adorn her mother tongue with either peculiarity. It is a 
curious and sad enough thing to observe, as I have fre- 
quent opportunities of doing, the unbounded insolence and 
tyranny (of manner, of course it can go no farther) of the 
slaves toward each other. " Hi ! you boy !" and " Hi ! 
you girl!" shouted in an imperious scream, is the civilest 
mode of apostrophizing those at a distance from them ; 
more frequently it is " You niggar, you hear ? hi ! you 
niggar !" And I assure you no contemptuous white in- 
tonation ever equaled the prepotenza of the despotic inso- 
lence of this address of these poor wretches to each other. 

I have left my letter lying for a couple of days, dear 
E -. I have been busy and tired ; my walking and rid- 
ing is becoming rather more laborious to me, for, though 
nobody here appears to do so, I am beginning to feel the 
relaxing influence of the spring. 

The day before yesterday I took a disagreeable ride, 
all through swampy fields, and charred, blackened thick- 
ets, to discover nothing either picturesque or beautiful ; 
the woods in one part of the plantation have been on fire 
for three days, and a whole tract of exquisite evergreens 
has been burnt down to the ground. In the afternoon I 
drove in the wood-wagon to visit the people at St. Annie's. 
There has been rain these last two nights, and their 
wretched hovels do not keep out the weather; they are 
really miserable abodes for human beings. I think pigs 
who were at all particular might object to some of them. 
There is a woman at this settlement called Sophy, the 
wife of a driver, Morris, who is so pretty that I often won- 
der if it is only by contrast that I admire her so much, or 
if her gentle, sweet, refined face, in spite of its dusky col- 
or, would not approve itself any where to any one with 
an eye for beauty. Her manner and voice, too, are pecul- 
iarly soft and gentle ; but, indeed, the voices of all these 
poor people, men as well as women, are much pleasanter 


and more melodious than the voices of white people in 
general. Most of the wretched hovels had been swept 
and tidied out in expectation of my visit, and many were 
the consequent petitions for rations of meat, flannel, osna- 
burgs, etc. ; promising all which, in due proportion to the 
cleanliness of each separate dwelling, I came away. On 
my way home I called for a moment at Jones's settlement 
to leave money and presents promised to the people there 
for similar improvement in the condition of their huts. I 
had not time to stay and distribute my benefactions my- 
self, and so appointed a particularly bright, intelligent- 
looking woman, called Jenny, paymistress in my stead, 
and her deputed authority was received with the utmost 
cheerfulness by them all. 

I have been having a long talk with Mr. about 

Ben and Daphne, those two young mulatto children of 
Mr. K 's, whom I mentioned to you lately. Poor pret- 
ty children ! they have refined and sensitive faces as well 
as straight, regular features ; and the expression of the 
girl's countenance, as well as the sound of her voice, and 
the sad humility of her deportment, are indescribably 

touching. Mr. B expressed the strongest interest in 

and pity for them, because of their color: it seems unjust 
almost to the rest of their fellow-unfortunates that this 
should be so, and yet it is almost impossible to resist the 
impression of the unfitness of these two forlorn young 
creatures for the life of coarse labor and dreadful degra- 
dation to which they are destined. In any of the South- 
ern cities the girl would be pretty sure to be reserved for 
a worse fate ; but even here, death seems to me a thou- 
sand times preferable to the life that is before her. 

In the afternoon I rode with Mr. to look at the 

fire in the woods. "We did not approach it, but stood 
where the great volumes of smoke could be seen rising 
steadily above the pines, as they have now continued to 


do for upward of a week ; the destruction of the pine tim- 
ber must be something enormous. We then went to visit 
Dr. and Mrs. G , and wound up these exercises of civ- 
ilized life by a call on dear old Mr. C , whose nursery 

and kitchen garden are a real refreshment to my spirits. 
How completely the national character of the worthy 
canny old Scot is stamped on the care and thrift visible 
in his whole property, the judicious, successful culture of 
which has improved and adorned his dwelling in this re- 
mote corner of the earth! The comparison, or rather 
contrast, between himself and his quondam neighbor, Ma- 
jor , is curious enough to contemplate. The Scotch 

tendency of the one to turn every thing to good account, 
the Irish propensity of the other to leave every thing to 
ruin, to disorder, and neglect ; the careful economy and 
prudent management of the mercantile man, the reckless 
profusion and careless extravagance of the soldier. The 
one made a splendid fortune and spent it in Philadelphia, 
where he built one of the finest houses that existed there 
in the old-fashioned days, when fine old family mansions 
were still to be seen breaking the monotonous uniformity 
of the Quaker city. The other has resided here on his es- 
tate, ameliorating the condition of his slaves and his prop- 
erty, a benefactor to the people and the soil alike — a use- 
ful and a good existence, an obscure and tranquil one. 

Last Wednesday we drove to Hamilton, by far the finest 
estate on St. Simon's Island. The gentleman to whom it 
belongs lives, I believe, habitually in Paris ; but Captain 

F resides on it, and, I suppose, is the real overseer of 

the plantation. All the way along the road (we traversed 
nearly the whole length of the island) we found great 
tracts of wood all burnt or burning; the destruction had 
spread in every direction, and against the sky we saw the 
slow rising of the smoky clouds that showed the pine for- 
est to be on fire still. What an immense quantity of 



property such a fire must destroy ! The negro huts on 
several oi' the plantations that we passed through were 
the most miserable human habitations I ever beheld. The 
wretched hovels at St. Annie's, on the Hampton estate, 
that had seemed to me the ne plus ultra of misery, were 
really palaces to some of the dirty, desolate, dilapidated 
dog-kennels which we passed to-day, and out of which the 
negroes poured like black ants at our approach, and stood 
to gaze at us as we drove by. 

The planters' residences we passed were only three. It 
makes one ponder seriously when one thinks of the mere 
handful of white people on this island. In the midst of 
this large population of slaves, how absolutely helpless 
they would be if the blacks were to become restive ! They 
could be destroyed to a man before human help could 
reach them from the main, or the tidings even of what 
was going on be carried across the surrounding waters. 
As we approached the southern end of the island we be- 
gan to discover the line of the white sea-sands beyond the 
bushes and fields, and presently, above the sparkling, daz- 
zling line of snowy white — for the sands were as white as 
our English chalk cliffs — stretched the deep blue sea-line 
of the great Atlantic Ocean. 

We found that there had been a most terrible fire in 
the Hamilton woods — more extensive than that on our 
own plantation. It seems as if the whole island had been 
burning at different points for more than a week. What 
a cruel pity and shame it does seem to have these beauti- 
ful masses of wood so destroyed ! I suppose it is impos- 
sible to prevent it. The " field-hands" make fires to cook 
their midday food wherever they happen to be working, 
and sometimes through their careless neglect, but some- 
times, too, undoubtedly on purpose, the woods are set fire 
to by these means. One benefit they consider that they 
derive from the process is the destruction of the dreaded 

m rpT*T' 

■U £<JiV»i-*} s <*^ K^vnitfo-vj 


rattlesnakes that infest the woodland all over the island ; 
but really the funeral pyre of these hateful reptiles is too 
costly at this price. 

Hamilton struck me very much — I mean the whole ap- 
pearance of the place ; the situation of the house, the no- 
ble water prospect it commanded, the magnificent old oaks 
near it, a luxuriant vine trellis, and a splendid hedge of 
yucca gloriosa, were all objects of great delight to me. 
The latter was most curious to me, who had never seen 
any but single specimens of the plant, and not many of 
these. I think our green-house at the North boasts but 
two ; but here they were growing close together, and in 
such a manner as to form a compact and impenetrable 
hedge, their spiky leaves striking out on all sides like che- 
vaux clef rise, and the tall, slender stems, that bear those 
delicate ivory-colored bells of blossoms, springing up 
against the sky in a regular row. I wish I could see that 
hedge in blossom. It must be wonderfully strange and 
lovely, and must look by moonlight like a whole range of 
fairy Chinese pagodas carved in ivory. 

At dinner we had some delicious green peas, so much 
in advance of you are we down here with the seasons. 
Don't you think one might accept the rattlesnakes, or per- 
haps indeed the slavery, for the sake of the green peas ? 
'Tis a world of compensations — a life of compromises, you 
know ; and one should learn to set one thing against an- 
other if one means to thrive and fare well, i. e., eat green 
peas on the twenty-eighth of March. 

After dinner I walked up and down before the house 
for a long while with Mrs. F , and had a most inter- 
esting conversation with her about the negroes and all the 
details of their condition. She is a kind-hearted, intelli- 
gent woman ; but, though she seemed to me to acquiesce, 
as a matter of inevitable necessity, in the social system in 
the midst of which she was born and lives, she did not ap- 


pear to me, by several things she said, to be by any means 
in love with it. She gave me a very sad character of Mr. 

K , confirming by her general description of him the 

impression produced by all the details I have received 
from our own people. As for any care for the moral or 
religious training of the slaves, that, she said, was a mat- 
ter that never troubled his thoughts ; indeed, his only no- 
tion upon the subject of religion, she said, was that it was 
something not bad for white women and children. 

We drove home by moonlight ; and as we came toward 
the woods in the middle of the island, the fireflies glitter- 
ed out from the dusky thickets as if some magical golden 
veil was every now and then shaken out into the dark- 
ness. The air was enchantingly mild and soft, and the 
whole way through the silvery night delightful. 

My dear friend, I have at length made acquaintance 
with a live rattlesnake. Old Scylla had the pleasure of 
discovering it while hunting for some wood to burn. Is- 
rael captured it, and brought it to the house for my edi- 
fication. I thought it an evil-looking beast, and could not 
help feeling rather nervous while contemplating it, though 
the poor thing had a noose round its neck, and could by 
no manner of means have extricated itself. The flat head, 
and vivid, vicious eye, and darting tongue, were none of 
them lovely to behold ; but the sort of threatening whin- 
produced by its rattle, together with the deepening and 
fading of the marks on its skin, either with its respiration, 
or the emotions of fear and anger it was enduring, were 
peculiarly dreadful and fascinating. It was quite a young 
one, having only two or three rattles in its tail. These, 
as you probably know, increase in number by one annu- 
ally, so that you can always tell the age of the amiable 
serpent you are examining — if it will let you count the 

number of joints of its rattle. Captain F gave me 

the rattle of one which had as many as twelve joints. He 


said it had belonged to a very large snake, which had 
crawled from under a fallen tree-trunk on which his chil- 
dren were playing. After exhibiting his interesting cap- 
tive, Israel killed, stuffed, and presented it to me for pres- 
ervation as a trophy, and made me extremely happy by 
informing me that there was a nest of them where this 

one was found. I think with terror of ,.j3 running 

about with her little socks not reaching half way up her 
legs, and her little frocks not reaching half way down 
them. However, we shall probably not make acquaint- 
ance with many more of these natives of Georgia, as we 
are to return as soon as possible now to the North. We 
shall soon be free again. 

This morning I rode to the burnt district, and attempt- 
ed to go through it at St. Clair's, but unsuccessfully: it 
was impossible to penetrate through the charred and 
blackened thickets. In the afternoon I walked round the 
Point, and visited the houses of the people who are our 
nearest neighbors. I found poor Edie in sad tribulation 
at the prospect of resuming her field labor. It is really 
shameful treatment of a woman just after child-labor. 
She was confined exactly three weeks ago to-day, and she 
tells me she is ordered out to field-work on Monday. 
She seems to dread the approaching hardships of her 
task-labor extremely. Her baby was born dead, she 
thinks in consequence of a fall she had while carrying a 
heavy weight of water. She is suffering great pain in 
one of her legs and sides, and seems to me in a condition 
utterly unfit for any work, much less hoeing in the fields ; 
but I dare not interfere to prevent this cruelty. She says 
she has already had to go out to work three weeks after 
her confinement with each of her other children, and does 
not complain of it as any thing special in her case. She 
says that is now the invariable rule of the whole planta- 
tion, though it used not to be so formerly. 


I have let my letter lie since I wrote the above, dear 

E ; but as mine is a story without beginning, middle, 

or end, it matters extremely little where I leave it off or 
where I take it up ; and if you have not, between my 
wood rides and sick slaves, come to Falstaff's conclusion 
that I have " damnable iteration," you are patient of same- 
ness. But the days are like each other; and the rides 
and the people, and, alas ! their conditions, do not vary. 

To-day, however, my visit to the Infirmary was marked 
by an event which has not occurred before — the death of 
one of the poor slaves while I was there. I found, on en- 
tering the first ward — to use a most inapplicable term for 
the dark, filthy, forlorn room I have so christened — an old 
negro called Friday lying on the ground. I asked what 
ailed him, and was told he was dying. I approached him, 
and perceived, from the glazed eyes and the feeble rattling 
breath, that he was at the point of expiring. His tattered 
shirt and trowsers barely covered his poor body ; his ap- 
pearance was that of utter exhaustion from age and feeble- 
ness ; he had nothing under him but a mere handful of 
straw that did not cover the earth he was stretched on ; 
and under his head, by way of pillow for his dying agony, 
two or three rough sticks just raising his skull a few 
inches from the ground. The flies were all gathering 
around his mouth, and not a creature was near him. 
There he lay — the worn-out slave, whose life had been 
spent in unrequited labor for me and mine, without one 
physical alleviation, one Christian solace, one human sym- 
pathy,, to cheer him in his extremity — panting out the 
last breath of his wretched existence like some forsaken, 
overworked, wearied-out beast of burden, rotting where 
it falls ! I bent over the poor awful human creature in 
the supreme hour of his mortality ; and while my eyes, 
blinded with tears of unavailing pity and horror, were 
fixed upon him, there was a sudden quivering of the eye- 


lids and falling of the jaw — and be was free. I stood up, 
and remained long lost in the imagination of the change 
that creature had undergone, and in the tremendous over- 
whelming consciousness of the deliverance God had grant- 
ed the soul whose cast-off vesture of decay lay at my feet. 
How I rejoiced for him; and how, as I turned to the 
wretches who were calling to me from the inner room, 
whence they could see me as I stood contemplating the 
piteous object, I wished they all were gone away with 
him, the delivered, the freed by death from bitter, bitter 
bondage. In the next room I found a miserable, decrepid 
old negress, called Charity, lying sick, and I should think 
near too to die ; but she did not think her work was over, 
much as she looked unfit for farther work on earth ; but 
with feeble voice and beseeching hands implored me to 
have her work lightened when she was sent back to it 
from the hospital. She is one of the oldest slaves on the 
plantation, and has to walk to her field labor, and back 
again at night, a distance of nearly four miles. There 
were an unusual number of sick women in the room to- 
day ; among them quite a young girl, daughter of Boat- 
man Quash's, with a sick baby, who has a father, though 
she has no husband. Poor thing! she looks like a mere 
child herself. I returned home so very sad and heart-sick 
that I could not rouse myself to the effort of going up to 
St. Annie's with the presents I had promised the people 

there. I sent M up in the wood-wagon with them, 

and remained in the house with my thoughts, which were 
none of the merriest. 

Dearest E , — On Friday I rode to where the rat- 
tlesnake was found, and where I was informed by the 
negroes there was a nest of them — a pleasing domestic 
picture of home and infancy that word suggests, not alto- 


gether appropriate to rattlesnakes, I think. On horseback 
I felt bold to accomplish this adventure, which I certainly 
should not have attempted on foot ; however, I could dis- 
cover no sign of either snake or nest — (perhaps it is of the 
nature of a mare's nest, and undiscoverable) ; but, having 
done my duty by myself in endeavoring to find it, I rode 
off and coasted the estate by the side of the marsh till I 
came to the causeway. There I found a new cleared field, 
and stopped to admire the beautiful appearance of the 
stumps of the trees scattered all about it, and wreathed 
and garlanded with the most profuse and fantastic growth 
of various plants, wild roses being among the most abun- 
dant. What a lovely aspect one side of nature presents 
here, and how hideous is the other! 

In the afternoon I drove to pay a visit to old Mrs. 

A , the lady proprietress whose estate immediately 

adjoins ours. On my way thither I passed a woman call- 
ed Margaret walking rapidly and powerfully along the 
road. She was returning home from the field, having 
done her task at three o'clock ; and told me, with a mer- 
ry, beaming black face, that she was going " to clean up 
de house, to please de missis." On driving through my 
neighbor's grounds, I was disgusted more than I can ex- 
press with the miserable negro huts of her people ; they 
were not fit to shelter cattle — they were not fit to shelter 
any thing, for they were literally in holes, and, as we 
used to say of our stockings at school, too bad to darn. 
To be sure, I will say, in excuse for their old mistress, her 
own habitation was but a very few degrees less ruinous 
and disgusting. What would one of your Yankee farm- 
ers say to such abodes? When I think of the white 
houses, the green blinds, and the flower-plots of the vil- 
lages in New England, and look at these dwellings of 
lazy filth and inert degradation, it does seem amazing to 
think that physical and moral conditions so widely oppo- 


site should be found among people occupying a similar 
place in the social scale of the same country. The North- 
ern farmer, however, thinks it no shame to work, the 
Southern planter does; and there begins and ends the dif- 
ference. Industry, man's crown of honor elsewhere, is 
here his badge of utter degradation ; and so comes all by 
which I am here surrounded — pride, profligacy, idleness, 
cruelty, cowardice, ignorance, squalor, dirt, and ineffable 

"When I returned home I found that Mrs. F had 

sent me some magnificent prawns. I think of having 
them served singly, and divided as one does a lobster — 
their size really suggests no less respect. 

Saturday, 31^. I rode all through the burnt district 

and the bush to Mrs. W 's field, in making my way 

out of which I was very nearly swamped, and, but for the 
valuable assistance of a certain sable Scipio who came up 
and extricated me, I might be floundering hopelessly 
there still. He got me out of my Slough of Despond, 
and put me in the way to a charming wood ride which 

runs between Mrs. W 's and Colonel H 's grounds. 

While going along this delightful boundary of these two 
neighboring estates, my mind not unnaturally dwelt upon 
the terms of deadly feud in which the two families own- 
ing them are living with each other. A horrible quarrel 
has occurred quite lately upon the subject of the owner- 
ship of this very ground I was skirting, between Dr. 

H and young Mr. W ; they have challenged 

each other, and what I am going to tell you is a good 
sample of the sort of spirit which grows up among slave- 
holders. So read it, for it is curious to people who have 
not lived habitually among savages. The terms of the 
challenge that has passed between them have appeared 
like a sort of advertisement in the local paper, and are to 
the effect that they are to fight at a certain distance with 

L 2 


certain weapons — fire-arms, of course ; that there is to be 
on the person of each a white paper, or mark, immediately 
over the region of the heart, as a point for direct aim ; 
and whoever kills the other is to have the privilege of 
cutting off his head, and sticking it up on a pole on the 
piece of land which was the origin of the debate ; so that, 
some line day, I might have come hither as I did to-day, 
and found myself riding under the shadow of the gory 
locks of Dr. II or Mr. W , my peaceful and pleas- 
ant neighbors. 

I came home through our own pine woods, which are 
actually a wilderness of black desolation. The scorched 
and charred tree-trunks are still smoking and smoulder- 
ing ; the ground is a sort of charcoal pavement, and the 
fire is still burning on all sides, for the smoke was rapidly 
rising in several directions on each hand of the path I pur- 
sued. Across this dismal scene of strange destruction, 
bright blue and red birds, like living jewels, darted in the 
brilliant sunshine. I wonder if the fire has killed and 
scared away many of these beautiful creatures. In the 
afternoon I took Jack with me to clear some more of the 
w r ood paths ; but the weather is what I call hot, and w T hat 
the people here think warm, and the air was literally thick 
w 7 ith little black points of insects, which they call sand- 
flies, and which settle upon one's head and face literally 
like a black net ; you hardly see them or feel them at the 
time, but the irritation occasioned by them is intolerable, 
and I had to relinquish my work and fly before this winged 
plague as fast as I could from my new acquaintance the 
rattlesnakes. Jack informed me, in the course of our ex- 
pedition, that the woods on the island were sometimes 
burnt away in order to leave the ground in grass for fod- 
der for the cattle, and that the very beautiful, ones he and 
I had been clearing paths through were not unlikely to 
be so doomed, which strikes me as a horrible idea. 

O^j Mvs . \J - - \ £>\< 


In the evening poor Edie came up to the house to see 
me, with an old negress called Sackey, who has been one 
of the chief nurses on the island for many years. I sup- 
pose she has made some application to Mr. G — — for a 
respite for Edie, on finding how terribly unfit she is for 

work ; or perhaps Mr. , to whom I represented her 

case, may have ordered her reprieve ; but she came with 
much gratitude to me (who have, as far as I know, had 
nothing to do with it), to tell me that she is not to be sent 
into the field for another week. Old Sackey fully con- 
firmed Edie's account of the terrible hardships the wom- 
en underwent in being thus driven to labor before they 
had recovered from childbearing. She said that old Ma- 
jor allowed the women at the rice-island five weeks, 

and those here four weeks, to recover from a confinement, 
and then never permitted them for some time after they 
resumed their work to labor in the fields before sunrise or 
after sunset ; but Mr. K had altered that arrange- 
ment, allowing the women at the rice-island only four 
weeks, and those here only three weeks, for their recovery ; 
" and then, missis," continued the old woman, " out into 
the field again, through dew and dry, as if nothing had 
happened ; that is why, missis, so many of the women 
have falling of the womb and weakness in the back; and 
if he had continued on the estate, he would have utterly 
destroyed all the breeding women." Sometimes, after 
sending them back into the field at the expiration of their 
three weeks, they would work for a day or two, she said, 
and then fall down in the field with exhaustion, and be 
brought to the hospital almost at the point of death. 

Yesterday, Sunday, I had my last service at liome with 
these poor people; nearly thirty of them came, all clean, 

neat, and decent, in their dress and appearance. S 

had begged very hard to join the congregation, and upon 
the most solemn promise of remaining still she was ad- 


mitted ; but, in spite of the perfect honor with which she 
kept her promise, her presence disturbed my thoughts 
not a little, and added much to the poignancy of the feel- 
ing with which I saw her father's poor slaves gathered 
round me. The child's exquisite complexion, large gray 
eyes, and solemn and at the same time eager countenance, 
was such a wonderful piece of contrast to their sable 
faces, so many- of them so uncouth in their outlines and 
proportions, and yet all of them so pathetic, and some so 
sublime in their expression of patient suffering and relig- 
ious fervor : their eyes never wandered from me and my 
child, who sat close by my knee, their little mistress, their 

future providence, my poor baby! Dear E , bless 

God that you have never reared a child with such an 
awful expectation : and at the end of the prayers, the 
tears were streaming over their faces, and one chorus of 
blessings rose round me and the child — farewell blessings, 
and prayers that we would return ; and thanks so fervent 
in their incoherency, it was more than I could bear, and 
I begged them to go away and leave me to recover my- 
self. And then I remained with S , and for quite a 

long while even her restless spirit was still in wondering 
amazement at my bitter crying. I am to go next Sun- 
day to the church on the island, where there is to be 
service ; and so this is my last Sunday with the people. 
When I had recovered from the emotion of this scene, 

I walked out with S a little way, but meeting M 

and the baby, she turned home with them, and I pursued 
my walk alone up the road, and home by the shore. They 
are threatening to burn down all my woods to make grass- 
land for the cattle, and I have terrified them by telling 
them that I will never come back if they destroy the 
woods. I went and paid a visit to Mrs. G ; poor lit- 
tle, well-meaning, helpless woman, what can she do for 
these poor people, where I, who am supposed to own 


them, can do nothing? and yet how much may be done, 
is done, by the brain and heart of one human being in 
contact with another ! We are answerable for incalcula- 
ble opportunities of good and evil in our daily intercourse 
with every soul with whom we have to deal ; every meet- 
ing, every parting, every chance greeting, and every ap- 
pointed encounter, are occasions open to us for which we 
are to account. To our children, our servants, our friends, 
our acquaintances — to each and all every day, and all day 
long, we are distributing that which is best or worst in 
existence — influence : with every word, with every look, 
with every gesture, something is given or withheld of 
great importance it may be to the receiver, of inestimable 
importance to the giver. 

Certainly the laws and enacted statutes on which this 
detestable system is built up are potent enough ; the so- 
cial prejudice that buttresses it is almost more potent 
still ; and yet a few hearts and brains well bent to do the 
work would bring within this almost impenetrable dun- 
geon of ignorance, misery, and degradation, in which so 
many millions of human souls lie buried, that freedom of 
God which would presently conquer for them their earth- 
ly liberty. With some such thoughts I commended the 
slaves on the plantation to the little overseer's wife ; I did 
not tell my thoughts to her — they would have scared the 
poor little woman half out of her senses. To begin with, 
her bread, her husband's occupation, has its root in slav- 
ery ; it would be difficult for her to think as I do of it. 
I am afraid her care, even of the bodily habits and sick- 
nesses of the people left in Mrs. G 's charge, will not 

be worth much, for nobody treats others better than they 
do themselves ; and she is certainly doing her best to in- 
jure herself and her own poor baby, who is two and a 
half years old, and whom she is still suckling. 

Tlris is, I think, the worst case of this extraordinary 


delusion so prevalent among your women that I have ever 
met with yet; but they all nurse their children much 
longer than is good for either baby or mother. The 
summer heat, particularly when a young baby is cutting 
teeth, is, I know, considered by young American mothers 
an exceedingly critical time, and therefore I always hear 
of babies being nursed till after the second summer ; so 
that a child born in January would be suckled till it was 
eighteen or nineteen months old, in order that it might 
not be weaned till its second summer was over. I am 
sure that nothing can be worse than this system, and I 
attribute much of the wretched ill health of young Amer- 
ican mothers to over-nursing; and of course a process 
that destroys their health and vigor completely must af- 
fect most unfavorably the child they are suckling. It 
is a grievous mistake. I remember my charming friend 

F D telling me that she had nursed her first 

child till her second was born — a miraculous statement, 
which I can only believe because she told it me herself. 
Whenever any thing seems absolutely impossible, the 
word of a true person is the only proof of it worth any 

Dear E , — I have been riding into the swamp be- 
hind the new house ; I had a mind to survey the ground 
all round it before going away, to see what capabilities it 
afforded for the founding of a garden, but I confess it 
looked very unpromising. Trying to return by another 
way, I came to a morass, which, after contemplating, and 
making my horse try for a few paces, I thought it expedi- 
ent not to attempt. A woman named Charlotte, who was 
working in the field, seeing my dilemma, and the inglori- 
ous retreat I was about to make, shouted to me at the top 
of her voice, " You no turn back, missis ; if you want to 


go through, send, missis, send ; you hab slave enough, nig- 
ger enough, let 'em eome, let 'em fetch planks, and make 
de bridge ; what you say dey must do — send, missis, send, 
missis !" It seemed to me, from the lady's imperative 
tone in my behalf, that if she had been in my place, she 
would presently have had a corduroy road through the 
swamp of prostrate " niggers," as she called her family in 
Ham, and have ridden over the sand dry-hoofed ; and to 
be sure, if I pleased, so might I, for, as she very truly said, 
" what you say, missis, they must do." Instead of sum- 
moning her sooty tribe, however, I backed my horse out 
of the swamp, and betook myself to another pretty wood 
path, which only w T ants widening to be quite charming. 
At the end of this, however, I found swamp the second, 
and out of this having been helped by a grinning, face- 
tious personage, most appropriately named Pun, I returned 

home in dudgeon, in spite of what dear Miss M calls 

the " moral suitability" of finding a foul bog at the end of 
every charming wood path or forest ride in this region. 

In the afternoon I drove to Busson Hill to visit the 
people there. I found that both the men and women had 
done their work at half past three. Saw Tema with her 
child, that ridiculous image of Driver Bran, in her arms, 
in spite of whose whity-browm skin she still maintains that 
its father is a man as black as herself— and she (to use a 
most extraordinary comparison I heard of a negro girl 
making with regard to her mother) is as black as " de 
hinges of hell." Query : Did she really mean hinges, or 
angels ? The angels of hell is a polite and pretty para- 
phrase for devils, certainly. In complimenting a woman 
called Joan upon the tidy condition of her house, she an- 
swered, with that cruel humility that is so bad an element 
in their character, " Missis no 'spect to find colored folks' 
house clean as white folks'." The mode in w r hich they 
have learned to accept the idea of their own degradation 


and unalterable inferiority is the most serious impediment 
that I see in the way of their progress, since assuredly 
" self-love is not so vile a sin as self-neglecting." In the 
same way yesterday, Abraham the cook, in speaking of his 
brother's theft at the rice-island, said "it was a shame even 
for a colored man to do such things." I labor hard, when- 
ever any such observation is made, to explain to them that 
the question is one of moral and mental culture — not the 
color of an integument — and assure them, much to my own 
comfort, whatever it may be to theirs, that white people 
are as dirty and as dishonest as colored folks, when they 
have suffered the same lack of decent training. If I could 
but find one of these women on whose mind the idea had 
dawned that she was neither more nor less than my equal, 
I think I should embrace her in an ecstasy of hopefulness. 

In the evening, while I was inditing my journal for your 
edification, Tema made her appearance with her Bran- 
brown baby, having walked all the way down from Bus- 
son Hill to claim a little sugar I had promised her. She 
had made her child perfectly clean, and it looked quite 
pretty. When I asked her what I should give her the 
sugar in, she snatched her filthy handkerchief off her head ; 
but I declined this sugar-basin, and gave it to her in some 
paper. Hannah came on the same errand. 

After all, dear E , we shall not leave Georgia so 

soon as I expected ; we can not get off for at least another 
week. You know, our movements are apt to be both tar- 
dy and uncertain. I am getting sick in spirit of my stay 
here ; but I think the spring heat is beginning to affect 
me miserably, and I long for a cooler atmosphere. Here, 
on St. Simon's, the climate is perfectly healthy, and our 
neighbors, many of them, never stir from their plantations 
within reach of the purifying sea influence. But a land 
that grows magnolias is not fit for me — I was going to 
say magnolias and rattlesnakes ; but I remember K 's 


adventure with her friend the rattlesnake of Monument 
Mountain, and the wild wood-covered hill half way be- 
tween Lenox and Stockbridge, which your Berkshire 
farmers have christened Rattlesnake Mountain. These 
agreeable serpents seem, like the lovely little humming- 
birds which are found in your northernmost as well as 
southernmost states, to have an accommodating disposi- 
tion with regard to climate. 

Xot only is the vicinity of the sea an element of salu- 
brity here, but the great masses of pine wood growing in 
every direction indicate lightness of soil and purity of air. 
"Wherever these fragrant, dry, aromatic fir forests extend, 
there can be no inherent malaria, I should think, in either 
atmosphere or soil. The beauty and profusion of the 
weeds and wild flowers in the fields now is something, 
too, enchanting. I wish I could spread one of these en- 
ameled tracts on the side of one of your snow-covered 
lulls now, for I dare say they are snow-covered yet. 

I must give you an account of Aleck's first reading les- 
son, which took place at the same time that I gave S 

hers this morning. It was the first time he had had leis- 
ure to come, and it went off" most successfully. He seems 
to me by no means stupid. I am very sorry he did not 
ask me to do this before ; however, if he can master his 
alphabet before I go, he may, if chance favor him with the 
occasional sight of a book, help himself on by degrees. 
Perhaps he will have the good inspiration to apply to 
Cooper London for assistance ; I am much mistaken if that 
worthy does not contrive that Heaven shall help Aleck, 
as it formerly did him, in the matter of reading. 

I rode with Jack afterward, showing him where I wish 
paths to be cut and brushwood removed. I passed the 
new house, and again circumvented it meditatingly to dis- 
cover its available points of possible future comeliness, 
but remained as convinced as ever that there are absolute- 


ly none. Within the last two days a perfect border of 
the dark blue virginicum has burst into blossom on each 
side of the road, fringing it with purple as far as one can 
look along it ; it is lovely. I must tell you of something 
which has delighted me greatly. I told Jack yesterday 
that, if any of the boys liked, when they had done their 
tasks, to come and clear the paths that I want widened 
and trimmed, I would pay them a certain small sum per 
hour for their labor ; and behold, three boys have come, 
having done their tasks early in the afternoon, to apply 
for work and wages : so much for a suggestion not barely 
twenty-four hours old, and so much for a prospect of com- 
pensation ! 

In the evening I attempted to walk out when the air 
was cool, but had to run precipitately back into the house 
to escape from the clouds of sand-flies that had settled on 
my neck and arms. The weather has suddenly become in- 
tensely hot ; at least that is what it appears to me. Aft- 
er I had come in I had a visit from Venus and her daugh- 
ter, a young girl of ten years old, for whom she begged a 
larger allowance of food, as, she said, what she received 
for her was totally inadequate to the girl's proper nour- 
ishment. I was amazed, upon inquiry, to find that three 
quarts of grits a week — that is not a pint a day — was con- 
sidered a sufficient supply for children of her age. The 
mother said her child was half-famished on it, and it seem- 
ed to me terribly little. 

My little workmen have brought me in from the woods 
three darling little rabbits which they have contrived to 
catch. They seemed to me slightly different from our 

English bunnies ; and Captain F , who called to-day, 

gave me a long account of how they differed from the 
same animal in the Northern states. I did not like to 
mortify my small workmen by refusing their present ; but 
the poor little things must be left to run wild again, for 


we have no conveniences for pets here, besides we are just 
weighing anchor ourselves. I hope these poor little fluffy 
things will not meet any rattlesnakes on their way back 
to the woods. 

I had a visit for flannel from one of our Dianas to-day 
—who had done her task in the middle of the day, yet 
came to receive her flannel — the most horribly dirty hu- 
man creature I ever beheld, unless, indeed, her child, whom 
she brought with her, may have been half a degree dirtier. 

The other day, Psyche (you remember the pretty un- 
der nurse, the poor thing whose story I wrote you from 
the rice plantation) asked me if her mother and brothers 
might be allowed to come and see her when we are gone 
away. I asked her some questions about them, and she 
told me that one of her brothers, who belonged to Mr. 

K , was hired by that gentleman to a Mr. G , of 

Darien, and that, upon the latter desiring to purchase him, 

Mr. K had sold the man without apprising him or 

any one member of his family that he had done so — a hu- 
mane proceeding that makes one's blood boil when one 
hears of it. He had owned the man ever since he was a 
boy. Psyche urged me very much to obtain an order per- 
mitting her to see her mother and brothers. I will try and 
obtain it for her ; but there seems generally a great ob- 
jection to the visits of slaves from neighboring planta- 
tions, and, I have no doubt, not without sufficient reason. 
The more I see of this frightful and perilous social sys- 
tem, the more I feel that those w r ho live in the midst of it 
must make their whole existence one constant precaution 
against danger of some sort or other. 

I have given Aleck a second reading lesson with S , 

who takes an extreme interest in his new r ly-acquired al- 
phabetical lore. He is a very quick and attentive schol- 
ar, and I should think a very short time would suffice to 
teach him to read ; but, alas ! I have not even that short 


time. When I had done with my class I rode off with 
Jack, who has become quite an expert horseman, and re- 
joices in being lifted out of the immediate region of snakes 
by the length of his horse's legs. I cantered through the 
new wood paths, and took a good sloping galop through 
the pine land to St. Annie's. The fire is actually still burn- 
ing in the woods. I came home quite tired with the heat, 
though my ride was not a long one. 

Just as I had taken off my habit and was preparing to 

start off with M and the chicks for Jones's in the 

wood-wagon, old Dorcas, one of the most decrepid, rheu- 
matic, and miserable old negresses from the farther end 
of the plantation, called in to beg for some sugar. She 
had walked the whole way from her own settlement, and 
seemed absolutely exhausted then, and yet she had to 
walk all the way back. It was not otherwise than slightly 

meritorious in me, my dear E , to take her up in the 

wagon and endure her abominable dirt and foulness in the 
closest proximity, rather than let her drag her poor old 
limbs all that way back ; but I was glad when we gained 
her abode and lost her company. I am mightily remind- 
ed occasionally in these parts of Trinculo's soliloquy over 
Caliban. The people at Jones's had done their work at 
half past three. Most of the houses were tidy and clean, 
so were many of the babies. On visiting the cabin of an 
exceedingly decent woman called Peggy, I found her, to 
my surprise, possessed of a fine large Bible. She told me 
her husband, Carpenter John, can read, and that she means 
to make him teach her. The fame of Aleck's literature 
has evidently reached Jones's, and they are not afraid to 
tell me that they can read or wish to learn to do so. 
This poor woman's health is miserable ; I never saw a 
more weakly, sickly-looking creature. She says she has 
been broken down ever since the birth of her last child. 
I asked her how soon after her confinement she went out 


into the field to work again. She answered very quietly, 
but with a deep sigh, " Three weeks, missis ; de usual 
time." As I was going away, a man named Martin came 
up, and with great vehemence besought me to give him a 
Prayer-book. In the evening he came down to fetch it, 
and to show me that he can read. I was very much 
pleased to see that they had taken my hint about nailing 
wooden slats across the windows of their poor huts, to 
prevent the constant ingress of the poultry. This in it- 
self will produce an immense difference in the cleanliness 
and comfort of their wretched abodes. In one of the huts 
I found a broken looking-glass ; it was the only piece of 
furniture of the sort that I had yet seen among them. 
The woman who owned it was, I am sorry to say, pecul- 
iarly untidy and dirty, and so w.ere her children ; so that 
I felt rather inclined to scoff at the piece of civilized van- 
ity, which I should otherwise have greeted as a promising 

I drove home, late in the afternoon, through the sweet- 
smelling woods, that are beginning to hum with the voice 
of thousands of insects. My troop of volunteer workmen 
is increased to five — five lads working for my wages after 
they have done their task-work ; and this evening, to my 
no small amazement, Driver Bran came down to join them 
for an hour, after working all day at Five Pound, which 
certainly shows zeal and energy. 

Dear E , I have been riding through the woods all 

the morning with Jack, giving him directions about the 
clearings, which I have some faint hope may be allowed 
to continue after my departure. I went on an exploring 
expedition round some distant fields, and then home 
through the St. Annie's woods. They have almost strip- 
ped the trees and thickets along the swamp road since I 
first came here. I wonder what it is for; not fuel surely, 
nor to make grass-land of, or otherwise cultivate the 


swamp. I do deplore these pitiless clearings ; and as to 
this once pretty road, it looks "forlorn," as a worthy 
Pennsylvania fanner's wife once said to me of a pretty 
hill-side from which her husband had ruthlessly felled a 
beautiful grove of trees. 

I had another snake encounter in my ride this morning. 
Just as I had walked my horse through the swamp, and 
while contemplating ruefully its naked aspect, a huge black 
snake wriggled rapidly across the path, and I pulled my 
reins tight and opened my mouth wide with horror. 
These hideous-looking creatures are, I believe, not poison- 
ous, but they grow to a monstrous size, and have tremen- 
dous constrictive power. I have heard stories that sound 
like the nightmare of their fighting desperately with those 
deadly creatures, rattlesnakes. I can not conceive, if the 
black snakes are not poisonous, what chance they have 
against such antagonists, let their squeezing powers be 
what they will. How horrid it did look, slithering over 
the road ! Perhaps the swamp has been cleared on ac- 
count of its harboring these dreadful worms. 

I rode home very fast, in spite of the exquisite fragrance 
of the wild cherry blossoms, the carpets and curtains of 
wild flowers, among which a sort of glorified dandelion 
glowed conspicuously — dandelions such as I should think 
grew in the garden of Eden, if there were any at all there. 
I passed the finest magnolia that I have yet seen ; it was 
magnificent, and I suppose had been spared for its beauty, 
for it grew in the very middle of a cotton-field ; it was as 
large as a fine forest tree, and its huge glittering leaves 
shone like plates of metal in the sun ; what a spectacle 
that tree must be in blossom, and I should think its per- 
fume must be smelt from one end of the plantation to the 
other. What a glorious creature ! Which do you think 
ought to weigh most in the scale, the delight of such a 
vegetable, or the disgust of the black animal I had just 


(5-lov.C icr J, ^?v)at? Iio-n , 


met a few minutes before ? Would you take the one with 
the other? Neither would I. 

I have spent the whole afternoon at home ; my " gang" 
is busily at work again. Sawney, one of them, came to 
join it nearly at sundown, not having got through his 
day's task before. In watching and listening to these 
lads, I was constantly struck with the insolent tyranny of 
their demeanor toward each other. This is almost a uni- 
versal characteristic of the manner of the negroes among 
themselves. They are diabolically cruel to animals too, 
and they seem to me, as a rule, hardly to know the differ- 
ence between truth and falsehood. These detestable qual- 
ities, which I constantly hear attributed to them as innate 
and inherent in their race, appear to me the direct result 
of their condition. The individual exceptions among them 
are, I think, quite as many as would be found, under sim- 
ilar circumstances, among the same number of white peo- 

In considering the whole condition of the people on this 
plantation, it appears to me that the principal hardships 
fall to the lot of the women — that is, the principal physic- 
al hardships. The very young members of the commu- 
nity are of course idle and neglected ; the very, very old, 
idle and neglected too ; the middle-aged men do not ap- 
pear to me overworked, and lead a mere animal existence, 
in itself not peculiarly cruel or distressing, but involving a 
constant element of fear and uncertainty, and the trifling 
evils of unrequited labor, ignorance the most profound (to 
which they are condemned by law), and the unutterable 
injustice which precludes them from all the merits and all 
the benefits of voluntary exertion, and the progress that 
results from it. If they are absolutely unconscious of 
these evils, then they are not very ill-off brutes, always 
barring the chance of being given or sold away from their 
mates or their young — processes which even brutes do 


not always relish. I am very much struck with the vein 
of melancholy, which assumes almost a poetical tone in 
some of the things they say. Did I tell you of that poor 
old decrepid creature Dorcas, who came to beg some sug- 
ar of me the other day ? saying, as she took up my watch 
from the table and looked at it, "Ah ! I need not look at 
this ; I have almost done with time !" Was not that 
striking from such a poor old ignorant crone ? 

Dear E , — This is the fourth day that I have had 

a " gang" of lads working in the woods for me after their 
task hours for pay; you can not think how zealous and 
energetic they are ; I dare say the novelty of the process 
pleases them almost as much as the money they earn. I 
must say they quite deserve their small wages. 

Last night I received a present from Mrs. F of a 

drum-fish, which animal I had never beheld before, and 
which seemed to me first cousin to the great Leviathan. 
It is to be eaten, and is certainly the biggest fish food I 
ever saw ; however, every thing is in proportion, and the 
prawns that came with it are upon a similarly extensive 
scale ; this magnificent piscatorial bounty was accom- 
panied by a profusion of Hamilton green peas, really a 
munificent supply. 

I went out early after breakfast with Jack hunting for 
new paths ; we rode all along the road by Jones's Creek, 
and most beautiful it was. We skirted the plantation 
burial-ground, and a dismal place it looked ; the cattle 
trampling over it in every direction, except where Mr. 

K had had an inclosure put up round the graves of 

two white men who had worked on the estate. They 
were strangers, and of course utterly indifferent to the 
people here ; but by virtue of their white skins, their rest- 
ing-place was protected from the hoofs of the cattle, while 


the parents and children, wives, husbands, brothers and 
sisters, of the poor slaves, sleeping beside them, might see 
the graves of those they loved trampled upon and browsed 
over, desecrated and defiled, from morning till night. 
There is something intolerably cruel in this disdainful de- 
nial of a common humanity pursuing these wretches even 
when they are hid beneath the earth. 

The day was exquisitely beautiful, and I explored a new 
wood path, and found it all strewed with a lovely wild 
flower not much unlike a primrose. I spent the afternoon 
at home. I dread going out twice a day now, on account 
of the heat and the sand-flies. While I was sitting by the 
window, Abraham, our cook, w r ent by with some most re- 
volting-looking " raw material" (part, I think, of the inte- 
rior of the monstrous drum-fish of which I have told you). 
I asked him, with considerable disgust, what he was go- 
ing to do with it ; he replied, " Oh ! we colored people 
eat it, missis." Said I, " Why do you say w T e colored peo- 
ple ?" " Because, missis, white people won't touch what 
we too glad of." " That," said I, " is because you arc 
poor, and do not often have meat to eat, not because you 
are colored, Abraham ; rich white folks will not touch 
what poor white folks are too glad of; it has nothing in 
the world to do with color ; and if there w r ere w T hite peo- 
ple here worse off than you (amazing and inconceivable 
suggestion, I fear), they would be glad to eat what you 
perhaps would not touch." Profound pause of medita- 
tion on the part of Abraham, wound up by a considerate 
" Well, missis, I suppose so ;" after which he departed 
with the horrid-looking offal. 

To-day — Saturday — I took another ride of discovery 
round the fields by Jones's. I think I shall soon be able 
to survey this estate, I have ridden so carefully over it in 
every direction ; but my rides are drawing to a close, and 
even were I to remain here this must be the case, unless 



I got up and rode under the stars in the cool of the night. 
This afternoon I -was obliged to drive up to St. Annie's : 
I had promised the people several times that I would do 
so. I went after dinner and as late as I could, and found 
very considerable improvement in the whole condition of 
the place ; the houses had all been swept, and some of 
them actually scoured. The children were all quite toler- 
ably clean ; they had put slats across all their windows, 
and little chicken-gates to the doors to keep out the poul- 
try. There was a poor woman lying in one of the cabins 
in a wretched condition. She begged for a bandage, but 
I do not see of what great use that can be to her, as long 
as she has to hoe in the fields so many hours a day, which 
I can not prevent. 

Returning home, Israel uudertook to pilot me across 
the cotton-fields into the pine land ; and a more excruci- 
ating process than being dragged over that very uneven 
surface in that wood-wagon without springs I did never 
endure, mitigated and soothed though it was by the liter- 
ally fascinating account my charioteer gave me of the 
rattlesnakes with which the place we drove through be- 
comes infested as the heat increases. I can not say that 
his description of them, though more demonstrative as far 
as regarded his own horror of them, was really worse than 

that which Mr. G was giving me of them yesterday. 

He said they were very numerous, and were found in ev- 
ery direction all over the plantation, but that they did not 
become really vicious until quite late in the summer ; un- 
til then, it appears that they generally endeavor to make 
off if one meets them, but during the intense heats of the 
latter part of July and August they never think of es- 
caping, but at any sight or sound which they may consid- 
er inimical they instantly coil themselves for a spring. 
The most intolerable proceeding on their part, however, 
that he described, was their getting up into the trees, and 


either coiling themselves in or depending from the branch- 
es. There is something too revolting in the idea of ser- 
pents looking down upon one from the shade of the trees 
to which one may betake one's self for shelter in the 
dreadful heat of the Southern midsummer ; decidedly I 
do not think the dog-days would be pleasant here. The 
moccasin snake, which is nearly as deadly as the rattle- 
snake, abounds all over the island. 

In the evening I had a visit from Mr. C and Mr. 

B , who officiates to-morrow at our small island church. 

The conversation I had with these gentlemen was sad 
enough. They seem good, and kind, and amiable men, 
and I have no doubt are conscientious in their capacity of 
slaveholders ; but to one who has lived outside this dread- 
ful atmosphere, the whole tone of their discourse has a 
morally muffled sound, which one must hear to be able to 

conceive. Mr. B told me that the people on this 

plantation not going to church was the result of a posi- 
tive order from Mr. K , who had peremptorily for- 
bidden their doing so, and of course to have infringed 
that order would have been to incur severe corporal 

chastisement. Bishop B , it seems, had advised that 

there should be periodical preaching on the plantations, 

which, said Mr. B , would have obviated any necessity 

for the people of different estates congregating at any 
given point at stated times, which might perhaps be ob- 
jectionable, and at the same time would meet the re- 
proach which was now beginning to be directed toward 
Southern planters as a class, of neglecting the eternal in- 
terest of their dependents. But Mr. K had equally 

objected to this. He seems to have held religious teach- 
ing a mighty dangerous thing— and how right he was ! 
I have met with conventional cowardice of various shades 
and shapes in various societies that I have lived in, but 
any thing like the pervading timidity of tone which I 


find here on all subjects, but, above all, on that of the con- 
dition of the slaves, I have never dreamed of. Truly slav- 
ery begets slavery, and the perpetual state of suspicion 
and apprehension of the slaveholders is a very handsome 
offset, to say the least of it, against the fetters and the 
lash of the slaves. Poor people, one and all, but especially 
poor oppressors of the oppressed ! The attitude of these 
men is really pitiable ; they profess (perhaps some of them 
strive to do so indeed) to consult the best interests of their 
slaves, and yet shrink back terrified from the approach of 
the slightest intellectual or moral improvement which 
might modify their degraded and miserable existence. I 
do pity these deplorable servants of two masters more 
than any human beings I have ever seen — more than their 
own slaves a thousand times ! 

To-day is Sunday, and I have been to the little church 
on the island. It is the second time since I came down 
to the South that I have been to a place of worship. A 
curious little incident prefaced my going thither this 
morning. I had desired Israel to get my horse ready and 
himself to accompany me, as I meant to ride to church ; 
and you can not imagine any thing droller than his hor- 
ror and dismay when he at length comprehended that my 
purpose was to attend divine service in my riding-habit. 
I asked him what was the trouble; for, though I saw 
something was creating a dreadful convulsion in his mind, 
I had no idea what it was till he told me, adding that he 
had never seen such a thing on St. Simon's in his life — as 
who should say, such a thing was never seen in Hyde 
Park or the Tuileries before. You may imagine my 
amusement ; but presently I was destined to shock some- 
thing much more serious than poor Israel's sense of les 
convenances et bienseances, and it was not without some- 
thing of an effort that I made up my mind to do so. I 
was standing at the open window speaking to him about 


the horses, and telling him to get ready to ride with me, 
when George, another of the men, went by with a shade 
or visor to his cap exactly the shaj)e of the one I left be- 
hind at the North, and for want of which I have been 
suffering severely from the intense heat and glare of the 
sun for the last week. I asked him to hand me his cap, 
saying, " I want to take the pattern of that shade." Is- 
rael exclaimed, " Oh, missis, not to-day ; let him leave the 
cap with you to-morrow, but don't cut pattern on de Sab- 
bath day !" It seemed to me a much more serious mat- 
ter to offend this scruple than the prejudice with regard 
to praying in a riding-habit; still, it had to be done. 
"Do you think it wrong, Israel," said I, "to work on 
Sunday ?" " Yes, missis, parson tell we so." " Then, Is- 
rael, be sure you never do it. Did your parson never tell 
you that your conscience was for yourself and not for 
your neighbors, Israel ?" " Oh yes, missis, he tell we that 
too." "Then mind that too, Israel." The shade was 
cut out and stitched upon my cap, and protected my eyes 
from the fierce glare of the sun and sand as I rode to 

On our way we came to a field where the young corn 
was coming up. The children were in the field — little 
living scarecrows — watching it, of course, as on a week- 
day, to keep off the birds. I made Israel observe this, 
who replied, " Oh, missis, if de people's corn left one whole 
day not watched, not one blade of it remain to-morrow ; 
it must be watched, missis." " What, on the Sabbath-day, 
Israel ?" " Yes, missis, or else we lose it all." I was not 
sorry to avail myself of this illustration of the nature of 
works of necessity, and proceeded to enlighten Israel with 
regard to what I conceive to be the genuine observance 
of the Sabbath. 

You can not imagine any thing wilder or more beauti- 
ful than the situation of the little rustic temple in the 


woods where I went to worship to-day, with the magnifi- 
cent live oaks standing round it and its picturesque burial- 
ground. The disgracefully neglected state of the latter, 
its broken and ruinous inclosure, and its shaggy, weed- 
grown graves, tell a strange story of the residents of this 
island, who are content to leave the resting-place of their 
dead in so shocking a condition. In the tiny little cham- 
ber of a church, the grand old Litany of the Episcopal 
Church of England was not a little shorn of its ceremonial 
stateliness ; clerk there was none, nor choir, nor organ, 
and the clergyman did duty for all, giving out the hymn 
and then singing it himself, followed as best might be by 
the uncertain voices of his very small congregation, the 
smallest I think I ever saw gathered in a Christian place 
of worship, even counting a few of the negroes who had 
ventured to place themselves standing at the back of the 
church — an infringement on their part upon the privileges 
of their betters, as Mr. B generally preaches a sec- 
ond sermon to them after the white service, to which, as a 
rule, they are not admitted. 

On leaving the church, I could not but smile at the 
quaint and original costumes with which Israel had so 
much dreaded a comparison for my irreproachable Lon- 
don riding-habit. However, the strangeness of it was 
what inspired him with terror ; but, at that rate, I am 
afraid a Paris gown and bonnet might have been in equal 
danger of shocking his prejudices. There was quite as 
little affinity with the one as the other in the curious speci- 
mens of the " art of dressing" that gradually distributed 
themselves among the two or three indescribable ma- 
chines (to use the appropriate Scotch title) drawn up un- 
der the beautiful oak-trees, on which they departed in va- 
rious directions to the several plantations on the island. 

I mounted my horse, and resumed my ride and my con- 
versation with Israel. He told me that Mr. K 's great 



objection to the people going to church was their meet- 
ing with the slaves from the other plantations ; and one 
reason, he added, that he did not wish them to do that 
was, that they trafficked and bartered away the cooper's 
wares, tubs, piggins, etc., made on the estate. I think, 
however, from every thing I hear of that gentleman, that 
the mere fact of the Hampton people coming in contact 
with the slaves of other plantations would be a thing he 
would have deprecated. As a severe disciplinarian, he 
was probably right. 

In the course of our talk, a reference I made to the 
Bible, and Israel's answer that he could not read, made 
me ask him why his father had never taught any of his 
sons to read ; old Jacob, I know, can read. What fol- 
lowed I shall never forget. He began by giving all sorts 
of childish unmeaning excuses and reasons for never hav- 
ing tried to learn — became confused and quite incoherent 
— and then, suddenly stopping, and pulling up his horse, 
said, with a look and manner that went to my very heart, 
" Missis, what for me learn to read ? me have no pros- 
pect!" I rode on without venturing to speak to him 
again for a little while. When I had recovered from that 
remark of his, I explained to him that, though indeed 
" without prospect" in some respects, yet reading might 
avail him much to better his condition, moral, mental, and 
physical. He listened very attentively, and was silent for 
a minute ; after which he said, " All you say very true, 
missis, and me sorry now me let de time pass; but you 
know what de white man dat goberns de estate him seem 
to like and favor, dat de people find out bery soon and do 

it ; now Massa K , him neber favor our reading, him 

not like it ; likely as not he lick you if he find you read- 
ing ; or, if you wish to teach your children, him always 
say, ' Pooh ! teach 'em to read — teach 'em to work.' Ac- 
cording to dat, we neber paid much attention to it ; but 


now it will be different ; it was different in former times. 
De old folks of my father and mother's time could read 
more than we can, and I expect de people will dare to 
give some thought to it again now." There's a precious 
sample of what one man's influence may do in his own 

sphere, dear E ! This man Israel is a remarkably fine 

fellow in every way, with a frank, open, and most intelli- 
gent countenance, which rises before me with its look of 
quiet sadness whenever I think of these words (and they 
haunt me), "I have no prospect." 

On my arrival at home I found that a number of the 
people, not knowing I had gone to church, had come up 
to the house, hoping that I would read prayers to them, 
and had not gone back to their homes, but waited to see 
me. I could not bear to disappoint them, for many of 
them had come from the farthest settlements on the es- 
tate ; and so, though my hot ride had tired me a good 
deal, and my talk with Israel troubled me profoundly, I 
took off my habit, and had them all in, and read the after- 
noon service to them. When it was over, two of the 
women: — Venus and Tressa — asked if they might be per- 
mitted to go to the nursery and see the children. Their 
account of the former condition of the estate was a cor- 
roboration of Israel's. They said that the older slaves on 
the plantation had been far better off than the younger 

ones of the present day ; that Major was considerate 

and humane to his people ; and that the women were es- 
pecially carefully treated. But they said Mr. K had 

ruined all the young women with working them too soon 
after their confinements ; and as for the elder ones, he 
would kick them, curse them, turn their clothes over their 
heads, flog them unmercifully himself, and abuse them 
shamefully, no matter what condition they were in. They 
both ended with fervent thanks to God that he had left 
the estate, and rejoicing that we had come, and, above all, 


that we " had made young missis for them." Venus went 
down on her knees, exclaiming, " Oh, missis, I glad now ; 
and when I am dead, I glad in my grave that you come 
to us and bring us little missis." 

Dear E , — I still go on exploring, or rather survey- 
ing the estate, the aspect of which is changing every day 
with the unfolding of the leaves and the wonderful profu- 
sion of wild flowers. The cleared ground all round the 
new building is one sheet of blooming blue of various 
tints ; it is perfectly exquisite. But in the midst of my 
delight at these new blossoms, I am most sorrowfully bid- 
ding adieu to that paragon of parasites, the yellow jas- 
mine ; I think I must have gathered the very last blos- 
soms of it to-day. Nothing can be more lovely, nothing 
so exquisitely fragrant. I was surprised to recognize by 
their foliage to-day some fine mulberry-trees by Jones's 
Creek ; perhaps they are the remains of the silk-worm ex- 
periment that Mr. C persuaded Major to try so 

ineffectually. While I was looking at some wild plum 
and cherry trees that were already swarming with blight 
in the shape of multitudinous caterpillars' nests, an ingen- 
ious darkie, by name Cudgie, asked me if I could explain 
to him why the trees blossomed out so fair, and then all 
" went off into a kind of dying." Having directed his 
vision and attention to the horrid white glistening webs, 
all lined with their brood of black devourers, I left him to 
draw his own conclusions. 

The afternoon was rainy, in spite of which I drove to 
Busson Hill, and had a talk with Bran about the vile cat- 
erpillar blights on the wild plum-trees, and asked him if it 
would not be possible to get some sweet grafts from Mr. 

C for some of the wild fruit-trees, of which there are 

such quantities. Perhaps, however, they are not worth 



grafting. Bran promised me that the people should not 
be allowed to encumber the paths and the front of their 
houses with unsightly and untidy heaps of oyster-shells. 
He promised all sorts of things. I wonder how soon after 
I am gone they will all return into the condition of brutal 
filth and disorder in which I found them. 

The men and women had done their work here by half 
past three. The chief labor in the cotton-fields, however, 
is both earlier and later in the season. At present they 
have little to do but let the crop grow. In the evening I 
had a visit from the son of a very remarkable man, who 
had been one of the chief drivers on the estate in Major 

's time, and his son brought me a silver cup which 

Major had given his father as a testimonial of appro- 
bation, with an inscription on it recording his fidelity and 
trustworthiness at the time of the invasion of the coast 
of Georgia by the English troops. Was not that a curi- 
ous reward for a slave who was supposed not to be able 
to read his own praises ? And yet, from the honorable 
pride with which his son regarded this relic, I am sure the 
master did well so to reward his servant, though it seemed 
hard that the son of such a man should be a slave. Mau- 
rice himself came with his father's precious silver cup in 
his hand, to beg for a small pittance of sugar, and for a 
Prayer-book, and also to know if the privilege of a milch 
cow for the support of his family, which was among the 
favors Major allowed his father, might not be con- 
tinued to him. He told me he had ten children " work- 
ing for massa," and I promised to mention his petition to 
Mr. . 

On Sunday last I rode round the woods near St. An- 
nie's, and met with a monstrous snake, which Jack called 
a chicken-snake; but whether because it particularly af- 
fected poultry as its diet, or for what other reason, he 
could not tell me. Nearer home I encountered another 


gliding creature, that stopped a moment just in front of 
my horse's feet, as if it was too much afraid of being 
trampled upon to get out of the way: it was the only 
snake animal I ever saw that I did not think hideous. It 
was of a perfectly pure apple-green color, with a delicate 
line of black like a collar round its throat ; it really was 
an exquisite worm, and Jack said it was harmless. I did 
not, however, think it expedient to bring it home in my 
bosom, though, if ever I have a pet snake, it shall be such 
a one. 

In the afternoon I drove to Jones's with several sup- 
plies of flannel for the rheumatic women and old men. 
We have ridden over to Hamilton again, to pay another 

visit to the F 's, and on our way passed an enormous 

rattlesnake hanging dead on the bough of a tree. Dead 
as it was, it turned me perfectly sick with horror, and I 
wished very much to come back to the North immediate- 
ly, where these are not the sort of blackberries that grow 
on every bush. The evening air now, after the heat of 
the day, is exquisitely mild, and the nights dry and whole- 
some, the whole atmosphere indescribably fragrant with 
the perfume of flowers ; and as I stood, before going to 
bed last night, watching the slow revolving light on Sapelo 
Island, that warns the ships from the dangerous bar at 
the river's mouth, and heard the measured pulse of the 
great Atlantic waters on the beach, I thought no more 
of rattlesnakes — no more, for one short while, of slavery. 
How still, and sweet, and solemn it was ! 

We have been paying more friendly and neighborly vis- 
its, or rather returning them ; and the recipients of these 
civilized courtesies on our last calling expedition were the 
family one member of which was a party concerned in 
that barbarous challenge I wrote you word about. Hith- 
erto that very brutal and bloodthirsty cartel appears to 
have had no result. You must not, on that account, im- 


agine that it will have none. At the North, were it pos- 
sible Tor a duel intended to be conducted on such savage 
terms to be matter of notoriety, the very horror of the 
tiling would create a feeling of grotesqueness, and the an- 
tagonists in such a proposed encounter would simply in- 
cur an immense amount of ridicule and obloquy. But 
here nobody is astonished and nobody ashamed of such 
preliminaries to a mortal combat between two gentlemen, 
who propose firing at marks over each other's hearts, and 
cutting off each other's heads ; and though this agreeable 
party of pleasure has not come off yet, there seems to be 
no reason why it should not at the first convenient season. 
Reflecting upon all which, I rode, not without trepidation, 

through Colonel II 's grounds, and up to his house. 

Mr. W 's head was not stuck upon a pole any where 

within sight, however, and as soon as I became pretty 
dtire of this, I began to look about me, and saw instead a 
trellis tapestried with the most beautiful roses I ever be- 
held, another of these exquisite Southern flowers — the 
Cherokee rose. The blossom is very large, composed of 
four or five pure white petals, as white and as large as 
those of the finest camellia, with a bright golden eye for 
a focus ; the buds and leaves are long and elegantly slen- 
der, like those of some tea-roses, and the green of the fo- 
liage is dark, and at the same time vivid and lustrous ; it 
grew in masses so as to form almost a hedge, all starred 
with these wonderful white blossoms, which, unfortunate- 
ly, have no perfume. 

We rode home through the pine land to Jones's, look- 
ed at the new house which is coming on hideously, saw 
two beautiful kinds of trumpet honeysuckle already light- 
ing up the woods in every direction with gleams of scar- 
let, and when we reached home found a splendid donation 
of vegetables, flowers, and mutton from our kind neigh- 
bor Mrs. F , who is a perfect Lady Bountiful to us. 

per Hovicv jut^U lio'b K*i</ 

U ("3 Y\ C WO O ci <: " 


This same mutton, however — my heart bleeds to say it — 
disappeared the day after it was sent to us. Abraham 
the cook declares that he locked the door of the safe upon 
it, which I think may be true, but I also think he unlock- 
ed it again. I am sorry ; but, after all, it is very natural 
these people should steal a little of our meat from us oc- 
casionally, who steal almost all their bread from them ha- 

I rode yesterday to St. Annie's with Mr. . We 

found a whole tract of marsh had been set on fire by the 
facetious negro called Pun, who had helped me out of it 
some time ago. As he was set to work in it, perhaps it 
was with a view of making it less damp ; at any rate, it 
was crackling, blazing, and smoking cheerily, and I should 
think would be insupportable for the snakes. While stop- 
ping to look at the conflagration, Mr. was accosted 

by a three parts naked and one part tattered little she 
slave — black as ebony, where her skin was discoverable 
through its perfect incrustation of dirt — with a thick mat 
of frizzly wool upon her skull, which made the sole request 
she preferred to him irresistibly ludicrous : " Massa, mas- 
sa, you please to buy me a comb to tick in my head ?" 
Mr. promised her this necessary of life, and I prom- 
ised myself to give her the luxury of one whole garment. 

Mrs. has sent me the best possible consolation for 

the lost mutton, some lovely flowers, and these will not 
be stolen. 

Saturday, the 1 3th. Dear E , — I rode to-day through 

all my wood paths for the last time with Jack, and I think 
I should have felt quite melancholy at taking leave of them 
and him but for the apparition of a large black snake, 
which filled me with disgust and nipped my other senti- 
ments in the bud. Not a day passes now that I do not 


encounter one or more of these hateful reptiles ; it is cu- 
rious how much more odious they are to me than the al- 
ligators that haunt the mud banks of the river round the 
rice plantation. It is true that there is something very 
dreadful in the thick shapeless mass, uniform in color al- 
most to the black slime on which it lies basking, and which 
you hardly detect till it begins to move. But even those 
ungainly crocodiles never sickened me as those rapid, 
lithe, and sinuous serpents do. Did I ever tell you that 
the people at the rice plantation caught a young alligator 
and brought it to the house, and it was kept for some time 
in a tub of water ? It was an ill-tempered little monster ; 
it used to set up its back like a cat when it was angry, and 
open its long jaws in a most vicious manner. 

After looking at my new path in the pine land, I crossed 
Pike Bluff, and, breaking my way all through the burnt 
district, returned home by Jones's. In the afternoon we 
paid a long visit to Mr. C . It is extremely interest- 
ing to me to talk with him about the negroes; he has 
spent so much of his life among them, has managed them 
so humanely, and apparently so successfully, that his ex- 
perience is worthy of all attention. And yet it seems to 
me that it is impossible, or rather, perhaps, for those very 
reasons it is impossible, for him ever to contemplate them 
in any condition but that of slavery. He thinks them 
very like the Irish, and instanced their subserviency, their 
flattering, their lying, and pilfering, as traits common to 
the characters of both peoples. But I can not persuade 
myself that in both cases, and certainly in that of the ne- 
groes, these qualities are not in great measure the result 
of their condition. He says that he considers the ex- 
tremely low diet of the negroes one reason for the ab- 
sence of crimes of a savage nature among them ; most of 
them do not touch meat the year round. But in this re- 
spect they certainly do not resemble the Irish, who con- 


trive, upon about as low a national diet as civilization is 
acquainted with, to commit the bloodiest and most fre- 
quent outrages with which civilization has to deal. His 
statement that it is impossible to bribe the negroes to 
work on their own account with any steadiness may be 
generally true, but admits of quite exceptions enough to 
throw doubt upon its being natural supineness in the race 
rather than the inevitable consequence of denying them 
the entire right to labor for their own profit. Their lazi- 
ness seems to me the necessary result of their primary 
wants being supplied, and all progress denied them. Of 
course, if the natural spur to exertion, necessity, is re- 
moved, you do away with the will to work of a vast pro- 
portion of all "who do w T ork in the world. It is the law 
of progress that man's necessities grow with his exertions 
to satisfy them, and labor and improvement thus continu- 
ally act and react upon each other to raise the scale of 
desire and achievement ; and I do not believe that, in the 
majority of instances among any people on the face of 
the earth, the will to labor for small indulgences w T ould 
survive the loss of freedom and the security of food 

enough to exist upon. Mr. said that he had offered 

a bribe of twenty dollars apiece, and the use of a pair of 
oxen, for the clearing of a certain piece of land, to the 
men on his estate, and found the offer quite ineffectual to 
procure the desired result; the land was subsequently 
cleared as usual task-work under the lash. Now, cer- 
tainly, we have among Mr. 'a people instances of men 

who have made very considerable sums of money by boat- 
building in their leisure hours, and the instances of almost 
life-long, persevering, stringent labor, by which slaves have 
at length purchased their own freedom and that of their 
wives and children, are on record in numbers sufficient to 
prove that they are capable of severe sustained effort of 
the most patient and heroic kind for that great object, 


liberty. For my own part, I know no people who dote 
upon labor for its own sake ; and it seems to me quite nat- 
ural to any absolutely ignorant and nearly brutish mau, 
if you say to him, " No effort of your own can make you 
free, but no absence of effort shall starve you," to decline 
to work for any thing less than mastery over his whole 
life, and to take up with his mess of porridge as the al- 
ternative. One thing that Mr. said seemed to me to 

prove rather too much. He declared that his son, object- 
ing to the folks on his plantation going about bareheaded, 
had at one time offered a reward of a dollar to those who 
should habitually wear hats without being able to induce 
them to do so, which he attributed to sheer careless indo- 
lence ; but I think it was merely the force of habit of go- 
ing uncovered rather than absolute laziness. The uni- 
versal testimony of all present at this conversation was in 
favor of the sweetness of temper and natural gentleness 
of disposition of the negroes ; but these characteristics 
they seemed to think less inherent than the result of diet 
and the other lowering influences of their condition ; and 
it must not be forgotten that on the estate of this wise 
and kind master a formidable conspiracy was organized 
among his slaves. 

We rowed home through a world of stars, the stead- 
fast ones set in the still blue sky, and the flashing swathes 
of phosphoric light turned up by our oars and keel in the 
smooth blue water. It was lovely. 

Sunday, 14th. My dear E , — That horrid tragedy 

with which we have been threatened, and of which I was 
writing to you almost jestingly a few days ago, has been 
accomplished, and apparently without exciting any thing 
but the most passing and superficial sensation in this com- 
munity. The duel between Dr. H and Mr. W 


did not take place, but an accidental encounter in the 
hotel at Brunswick did, and the former shot the latter 
dead on the spot. He has been brought home and buried 
here by the little church close to his mother's plantation ; 
and the murderer, if he is even prosecuted, runs no risk 
of finding a jury in the whole length and breadth of 
Georgia who could convict him of any thing. It is hor- 

I drove to church to-day in the wood-wagon, with Jack 
and Aleck, Hector being our charioteer, in a gilt guard- 
chain and pair of slippers to match as the Sabbatic part 
of his attire. The love of dirty finery is not a trait of the 
Irish in Ireland, but I think it crops out strongly when 
they come out here ; and the proportion of their high 
wages put upon their backs by the young Irish maidserv- 
ants in the North indicates a strong addiction to the fe- 
male passion for dress. Here the tendency seems to ex- 
ist in men and women alike ; but I think all savage men 
rejoice, even more than their women, in personal orna- 
mentation. The negroes certainly show the same strong 
predilection for finery with their womenkind. 

I stopped before going into church to look at the new 
grave that has taken its place among the defaced stones, 
all overgrown with briers, that lie round it. Poor young 

W ! poor widowed mother, of whom he was the only 

son ! What a savage horror ! And no one seems to 
think any thing of it, more than of a matter of course. 
My devotions were any thing but satisfactory or refresh- 
ing to me. My mind was dwelling incessantly upon the 
new grave under the great oaks outside, and the miser- 
able mother in her home. The air of the church was per- 
fectly thick with sand-flies ; and the disgraceful careless- 
ness of the congregation in responding and singing the 
hymns, and the entire neglect of the Prayer-book regula- 
tions for kneeling, disturbed and displeased me even more 

282 JOURNAL or 

than the last time I was at church ; but I think that was 
because of the total absence of excitement or feeling 
among the whole population of St. Simon's upon the sub- 
ject of the bloody outrage with which my mind was full, 
which has given me a sensation of horror toward the 
whole community. Just imagine — only it is impossible 
to imagine — such a thing taking place in a New England 
village ; the dismay, the grief, the shame, the indignation, 
that would fill the hearts of the whole population. I 
thought we should surely have some reference to the 
event from the pulpit, some lesson of Christian command 
over furious passions. Nothing — nobody looked or spoke 
as if any thing unusual had occurred ; and I left the 
church, rejoicing to think that I was going away from 

such a dreadful state of society. Mr. B remained to 

preach a second sermon to the negroes — the duty of sub- 
mission to masters who intermurder each other. 

I had service at home in the afternoon, and my congre- 
gation was much more crowded than usual ; for I believe 
there is no doubt at last that we shall leave Georgia this 
week. Having given way so much before when I thought 
I was praying with these poor people for the last time, I 
suppose I had, so to speak, expended my emotion, and I 
was much more composed and quiet than when I took 
leave of them before. But, to tell you the truth, this 
dreadful act of slaughter done in our neighborhood by 
one man of our acquaintance upon another, impresses me 
to such a degree that I can hardly turn my mind from it, 

and Mrs. W and her poor young murdered son have 

taken almost complete possession of my thoughts. 

After prayers I gave my poor people a parting admo- 
nition, and many charges to remember me and all I had 
tried to teach them during my stay. They promised with 
one voice to mind and do all that " missis tell we ;" and 
with many a parting benediction, and entreaties to me to 


return, they went their way. I think I have done what I 
could for them — I think I have done as well as I could by 
them ; but when the time comes for ending any human 
relation, who can be without their misgivings ? who can 
be bold to say, I could have done no more, I could have 
done no better ? 

In the afternoon I walked out, and passed many of the 
people, who are now beginning, whenever they see me, 
to say " Good-by, missis !" which is rather trying. Many 
of them were clean and tidy, and decent in their appear- 
ance to a degree that certainly bore strong witness to the 
temporary efficacy of my influence in this respect. There 
is, however, of course much individual difference even with 
reference to this, and some take much more kindly and 
readily to cleanliness, no doubt to godliness too, than 
some others. I met Abraham, and thought that, in a 
quiet tete-a-tete, and with the pathetic consideration of 
my near departure to assist me, I could get him to con- 
fess the truth about the disappearance of the mutton ; 
but he persisted in the legend of its departure through 
the locked door; and as I was only heaping sins on his 
soul with every lie I caused him to add to the previous 
ones, I desisted from my inquiries. Dirt and lying are 
the natural tendencies of humanity, which are especially 
fostered by slavery. Slaves may be infinitely wrong, and 
yet it is very hard to blame them. 

I returned home, finding the heat quite oppressive. 
Late in the evening, when the sun had gone down a long 
time, I thought I would try and breathe the fresh sea air, 
but the atmosphere was thick with sand-flies, which drove 
me in at last from standing listening to the roar of the 
Atlantic on Little St. Simon's Island, the wooded belt 
that fends off the ocean surges from the north side of 
Great St. Simon's. It is a wild little sand-heap, covered 
with thick forest growth, and belongs to Mr. . I 


have long had a great desire to visit it. I hope yet to be 
able to do so before our departure. 

I have just finished reading, with the utmost interest 

and admiration, J C 's narrative of his escape 

from the wreck of the Pulaski : what a brave, and gal- 
lant, and unselfish soul he must be ! You never read any- 
thing more thrilling, in spite of the perfect modesty of this 
account of his. If lean obtain his permission, and squeeze 
out the time, I will surely copy it for you. The quiet, un- 
assuming character of his usual manners and deportment 
adds greatly to his prestige as a hero. "What a fine thing 
it must be to be such a man ! 

Dear E , — "We shall leave this place next Thursday 

or Friday, and there will be an end to this record ; mean- 
time I am fulfilling all sorts of last duties, and especially 
those of taking leave of my neighbors, by whom the neg- 
lect of a farewell visit would be taken much amiss. 

On Sunday I rode to a place called Frederica to call on 

a Mrs. A , who came to see me some time ago. I 

rode straight through the island by the main road that 
leads to the little church. 

How can I describe to you the exquisite spring beauty 
that is now adorning these woods, the variety of the fresh, 
new-born foliage, the fragrance of the sweet, wild per- 
fumes that fill the air ? Honeysuckles twine round every 
tree ; the ground is covered with a low, white-blossomed 
shrub more fragrant than lilies of the valley. The accac- 
uas are swinging their silver censers under the green roof 
of these wood temples ; every stump is like a classical 
altar to the sylvan gods, garlanded with flowers ; every 
post, or stick, or slight stem, like a Bacchante's thyrsus, 
twined with wreaths of ivy and wild vine, waving in the 
tepid wind. Beautiful butterflies flicker like flying flowers 


\^e. l^-u.v, 5 ,J* V- (-vedevi - ci_ 


among the bushes, and gorgeous birds, like winged jewels, 
dart from the boughs, and — and — a huge ground snake 
slid like a dark ribbon across the path while I was stop- 
ping to enjoy all this deliciousness, and so I became less 
enthusiastic, and cantered on past the little deserted 
church-yard, with the new-made grave beneath its grove 

of noble oaks, and a little farther on reached Mrs. A 's 

cottage, half hidden in the midst of ruins and roses. 

This Frederica is a very strange place ; it was once a 
town — the town, the metropolis of the island. The En- 
glish, when they landed on the coast of Georgia in the 
war, destroyed this tiny place, and it has never been built 

up again. Mrs. A 's, and one other house, are the 

only dwellings that remain in this curious wilderness of 
dismantled crumbling gray walls compassionately cloaked 
with a thousand profuse and graceful creepers. These 
are the only ruins, properly so called, except those of Fort 
Putnam, that I have ever seen in this laud of contemptu- 
ous youth. I hailed these picturesque groups and masses 
with the feelings of a European, to whom ruins are like a 
sort of relations. In my country, ruins are like a minor 
chord in music ; here they are like a discord ; they are 
not the relics of time, but the results of violence ; they re- 
call no valuable memories of a remote past, and are mere 
encumbrances to the busy present. Evidently they are 
out of place in America except on St. Simon's Island, be- 
tween this savage selvage of civilization and the great At- 
lantic deep. These heaps of rubbish and roses would 
have made the fortune of a sketcher ; but I imagine the 
snakes have it all to themselves here, and are undisturbed 
by camp-stools, white umbrellas, and ejaculatory young 

I sat for a long time with Mrs. A , and a friend of 

hers staying with her, a Mrs. A , lately from Florida. 

The latter seemed to me a remarkable woman ; her con- 


versation was extremely interesting. She had been stop- 
ping at Brunswick, at the hotel where Dr. H mur- 
dered young W , and said that the mingled ferocity 

and blackguardism of the men who frequented the house 
had induced her to cut short her stay there, and come on 

to her friend Mrs. A 's. We spoke of that terrible 

crime which had occurred only the day after she left 
Brunswick, and both ladies agreed that there was not the 

slightest chance of Dr. II 's being punished in any way 

for the murder he had committed ; that shooting down a 
man who had offended you was part of the morals and 
manners of the Southern gentry, and that the circum- 
stance was one of quite too frequent occurrence to cause 
any sensation, even in the small community where it ob-" 
literated one of the principal members of the society. If 
the accounts given by these ladies of the character of the 
planters in this part of the South may be believed, they 
must be as idle, arrogant, ignorant, dissolute, and fero- 
cious as that mediaeval chivalry to which they are fond of 
comparing themselves ; and these are Southern women, 
and should know the people among whom they live. 

We had a long discussion on the subject of slavery, and 
they took, as usual, the old ground of justifying the sys- 
tem, where it was administered with kindness and indul- 
gence. It is not surprising that women should regard 
the question from this point of view ; they are very sel- 
dom just, and are generally treated with more indulgence 
than justice by men. They were very patient of my 
strong expressions of reprobation of the whole system, 

and Mrs. A , bidding me good-by, said that, for aught 

she could tell, I might be right, and might have been led 
down here by Providence to be the means of some great 
change in the condition of the poor colored people. 

I rode home pondering on the strange fate that has 
brought me to this place so far from where I was born, 

a reside:sxe in geoegia. 287 

this existence so different in all its elements from that of 
my early years and former associations. If I believed 

Mrs. A 's parting words, I might perhaps verify them ; 

perhaps I may yet verify, although I do not believe them. 
On my return home I found a most enchanting bundle of 
flowers, sent to me by Mrs. G ; pomegranate blos- 
soms, roses, honeysuckle, every thing that blooms two 
months later with us in Pennsylvania. 

I told you I had a great desire to visit Little St. Simon's, 
and the day before yesterday I determined to make an 
exploring expedition thither. I took M and the chil- 
dren, little imagining what manner of day's work was be- 
fore me. Six men rowed us in the " Lily," and Israel 
brought the wood-wagon after us in a flat. Our naviga- 
tion was a very intricate one, all through sea swamps and 
marshes, mud-banks and sand-banks, with great white 
shells and bleaching bones stuck upon sticks to mark the 
channel. We landed on this forest in the sea by Quaslrs 
house, the only human residence on the island. It was 
larger and better, and more substantial than the negro 
huts in general, and he seemed proud and pleased to do 
the honors to us. Thence we set off, by my desire, in the 
wagon through the woods to the beach ; road there was 
none, save the rough clearing that the men cut with their 
axes before us as we went slowly on. Presently we came 
to a deep dry ditch, over which there was no visible means 
of proceeding. Israel told me if we would sit still he 
would undertake to drive the wagon into and out of it ; and 
so, indeed, he did, but how he did it is more than I can 
explain to you now, or could explain to myself then. A 
less powerful creature than Montreal could never have 
dragged us through ; and when we presently came to a 
second rather worse edition of the same, I insisted upon 
getting out and crossing it on foot. I walked half a mile 
while the wagon was dragged up and down the deep gul- 


ly, and lifted bodily over some huge trunks of fallen 
trees. The wood through which we now drove was all 
on fire, smoking, flaming, crackling, and burning round 
us. The sun glared upon us from the cloudless sky, and 
the air was one cloud of sand-flies and musquitoes. I 
covered both my children's faces with veils and handker- 
chiefs, and repented not a little in my own breast of the 
rashness of my undertaking. The back of Israel's coat 
was covered so thick with musquitoes that one could 
hardly see the cloth ; and I felt as if we should be 
stifled if our way lay much longer through this terrible 
wood. Presently we came to another impassable place, 
and again got out of the wagon, leaving Israel to manage 
it as best he could. I walked with the baby in my arms 
a quarter of a mile, and then was so overcome with the 
heat that I sat down in the burning wood, on the floor of 
ashes, till the wagon came up again. I put the children 

and M into it, and continued to walk till we came to 

a ditch in a tract of salt marsh, over which Israel drove 
triumphantly, and I partly jumped and was partly hauled 
over, having declined the entreaties of several of the men 
to let them lie down and make a bridge with their bodies 
for me to walk over. At length we reached the skirt of 
that tremendous wood, to my unspeakable relief, and came 
upon the white sand-hillocks of the beach. The trees 
were all strained crooked, from the constant influence of 
the sea-blast. The coast was a fearful-looking stretch of 
dismal, trackless sand, and the ocean lay boundless and 
awful beyond the wild and desolate beach, from which we 
were now only divided by a patch of low, coarse-looking 
bush, growing as thick and tangled as heather, and so 
stiff and compact that it was hardly possible to drive 
through it. Yet in spite of this, several lads who had 
joined our train rushed off into it in search of rabbits, 
though Israel called repeatedly to them, warning them of 











6 I 






the danger of rattlesnakes. AVe drove at last down to 
the smooth sea sand ; and here, outstripping our guides, 
was barred farther progress by a deep gully, down which 
it was impossible to take the wagon. Israel, not knowing 
the beach well, was afraid to drive round the mouth of it ; 
and so it was determined that from this point we should 
walk home under his guidance. I sat in the wagon while 
he constructed a rough foot-bridge of bits of wood and 
broken planks for us over the narrow chasm, and he then 
took Montreal out of the wagon and tied him behind it, 
leaving him for the other men to take charge of when they 
should arrive at this point. And so, having mightily de- 
sired to see the coast of Little St. Simon's Island, I did 
see it thoroughly ; for I walked a mile and a half round it, 
over beds of sharp shells, through swamps half knee deep, 

poor little S stumping along with dogged heroism, 

and Israel carrying the baby, except at one deep mal 

2Xisso, when I took the baby and he carried S ; and 

so, through the wood round Quash's house, where we ar- 
rived almost fainting with fatigue and heat, and where 
we rested but a short time, for we had to start almost im- 
mediately to save the tide home. 

I called at Mr. C 's on my way back, to return him 

his son's manuscript, which I had in the boat for that pur- 
pose. I sent Jack, who had come to meet me with the 
horses, home, being too tired to attempt riding ; and, cov- 
ered with mud literally up to my knees, I was obliged to 
lie down ignominiously all the afternoon to rest. And 
now I will give you a curious illustration of the utter sub- 
serviency of slaves. It seems that by taking the tide in 
proper season, and going by boat, all that horrible wood 
journey might have been avoided, and we could have 
reached the beach with perfect ease in half the time ; but 
because, being of course absolutely ignorant of this, I had 
expressed a desire to go through the wood, not a syllable 



of remonstrance was uttered by any one ; and the men 
not only underwent the labor of cutting a path for the 
wagon and dragging it through and over all the impedi- 
ments we encountered, but allowed me and the children 
to traverse that burning wood, rather than tell me that by 
waiting and taking another way I could get to the sea. 
When I expressed my astonishment at their not having 
remonstrated against my order, and explained how I could 
best achieve the purpose I had in view, the sole answer I 
got even from Israel was, " Missis say so, so me do ; missis 
say me go through the wood, me no tell missis go another 

way." You see, my dear E , one had need bethink 

one's self what orders one gives, when one has the misfor- 
tune to be despotic. 

How sorry I am that I have been obliged to return that 

narrative of Mr. C 's without asking permission to 

copy it, which I did not do because I should not have been 
able to find the time to do it ! We go away the day after 
to-morrow. All the main incidents of the disaster the 
newspapers have made you familiar with — the sudden and 
appalling loss of that fine vessel laden with the very flower 
of the South. There seems hardly to be a family in Geor- 
gia and South Carolina that had not some of its members 
on board that ill-fated ship. You know it was a sort of 
party of pleasure more than any thing else ; the usual an- 
nual trip to the North for change of air and scene, for the 
gayeties of Newport and Saratoga, that all the wealthy 
Southern people invariably take every summer. 

The weather had been calm and lovely ; and dancing, 
talking, and laughing, as if they were in their own draw- 
ing-rooms, they had passed the time away till they all sep- 
arated for the night. At the first sound of the exploding 

boiler Mr. C jumped up, and in his shirt and trowsers 

ran on deck. The scene was one of horrible confusion ; 
women screaming, men swearing, the deck strewn with 


broken fragments of all descriptions, the vessel leaning 
frightfully to one side, and every body running hither and 
thither in the darkness in horror and dismay. He had 

left Georgia with Mrs. F and Mrs. N — '— , the two 

children, and one of the female servants of these ladies 
under his charge. He went immediately to the door- of 

the ladies' cabin and called Mrs. F ; they were all 

there half dressed ; he bade them dress as quickly as pos- 
sible, and be ready to follow and obey him. He returned 
almost instantly, and led them to the side of the vessel, 
where, into the boats, that had already been lowered, des- 
perate men and women were beginning to swarm, throw- 
ing themselves out of the sinking ship. He bade Mrs. 

F jump down into one of these boats which was only 

in the possession of two sailors ; she instantly obeyed him, 
and he threw her little boy to the men after her. He then 

ordered Mrs. N , with the negro woman, to throw 

themselves off the vessel into the boat, and, with Mrs. 

N" 's baby in his arms, sprang after them. His foot 

touched the gunwale of the boat, and he fell into the wa- 
ter ; but, recovering himself instantly, he clambered into 
the boat, which he then peremptorily ordered the men to 
set adrift, in spite of the shrieks, and cries, and commands, 
and entreaties of the frantic crowds who were endeavor- 
ing to get into it. The men obeyed him, and rowing while 
he steered, they presently fell astern of the ship, in the 
midst of the darkness, and tumult, and terror. Another 
boat laden with people was near them. For some time 
they saw the heart-rending spectacle of the sinking vessel, 
and the sea strewn with mattresses, seats, planks, etc., to 
which people were clinging, floating, and shrieking for 
succor, in the dark water all round them. But they grad- 
ually pulled farther and farther out of the horrible chaos 
of despair, and, with the other boat still consorting with 
them, rowed on. They watched from a distance the pite- 


ous sight of the ill-fated steamer settling down, the gray- 
girdle of light that marked the line of her beautiful saloons 
and cabins gradually sinking nearer and nearer to the 
blackness, hi which they were presently extinguished ; 
and the ship, with all its precious human freight ingulfed 
— all but the handful left in those two open boats, to brave 
the dangers of that terrible coast! 

They were somewhere off the North Carolina shore, 
which, when the daylight dawned, they could distinctly 
see, with its ominous line of breakers and inhospitable 
perilous coast. The men had continued rowing all night, 
and as the summer sun rose flaming over their heads, the 
task of pulling the boat became dreadfully severe ; still 

they followed the coast, Mr. C looking out for any 

opening, creek, or small inlet that might give them a 
chance of landing in safety. The other boat rowed on at 
some little distance from them. 

All the morning, and through the tremendous heat of 
the middle day, they toiled on without a mouthful of food 
— without a drop of water. At length, toward the after- 
noon, the men at the oars said they were utterly exhaust- 
ed and could row no longer, and that Mr. C must 

steer the boat ashore. With wonderful power of com- 
mand, he prevailed on them to continue their afflicting la- 
bor. The terrible blazing sun pouring on all their unshel- 
tered heads had almost annihilated them; but still there 
lay between them and the land those fearful foaming 
ridges, and the women and children, if not the men them- 
selves, seemed doomed to inevitable death in the attempt 
to surmount them. Suddenly they perceived that the 
boat that had kept them company was about to adventure 

itself in the perilous experiment of landing. Mr. C 

kept his boat's head steady, the men rested on their oars, 
and watched the result of the fearful risk they were them- 
selves about to run. They saw the boat enter the break- 


ers — they saw her whirled round and capsized, and then 
they watched, slowly emerging and dragging themselves 
out of the foaming sea, some, and only some, of the peo- 
ple that they knew the boat contained. Mr. C , forti- 
fied with this terrible illustration of the peril that awaited 
them, again besought them to row yet for a little while 
farther along the coast, in search of some possible place to 
take the boat safely to the beach, promising at sunset to 
give up the search, and again the poor men resumed their 
toil ; but the line of leaping breakers stretched along the 
coast as far as eye could see, and at length the men de- 
clared they could labor no longer, and insisted that Mr. 

C should steer them to shore. He then said that he 

would do so, but they must take some rest before encoun- 
tering the peril which awaited them, and for which they 
might require whatever remaining strength they could 
command. He made the men leave the oars and lie down 
to sleep for a short time, and then, giving the helm to one 
of them, did the same himself. When they were thus a 
little refreshed with this short rest, he prepared to take 
the boat into the breakers. 

He laid Mrs. N 's baby on her breast, and wrapped 

a shawl round and round her body so as to secure the 
child to it, and said, in the event of the boat capsizing, he 

would endeavor to save her and her child. Mrs. F 

and her boy he gave in charge to one of the sailors, and 
the colored woman who was with her to the other, and 
they promised solemnly, in case of misadventure to the 
boat, to do their best to save these helpless creatures ; 
and so they turned, as the sun was going down, the bows 
of the boat to the terrible shore. They rose two of the 
breakers safely, but then the oar of one of the men was 
struck from his hand, and in an instant the boat whirled 

round and turned over. Mr. C instantly struck out 

to seize Mrs. N , but she had sunk, and, though he 



dived twice, he could not see her; at last he felt her hair 
floating loose with his foot, and seizing hold of it, grasped 
her securely and swam with her to shore. While in the 
act of doing so, he saw the man who had promised to save 
the colored woman making alone for the beach ; and even 
then, in that extremity, he had power of command enough 
left to drive the fellow back to seek her, which he did, 
and brought her safe to land. The other man kept his 

word of taking care of Mrs. F , and the latter never 

released her grasp of her child's wrist, which bore the 
mark of her agony for w r eeks after their escape. They 

reached the sands, and Mrs. N" 's shawl having been 

unwound, her child was found laughing on her bosom. 
But hardly had they had time to thank God for their de- 
liverance when Mr. C fell fainting on the beach ; and 

Mrs. F , who told me this, said that for one dreadful 

moment they thought that the preserver of all their lives 
had lost his own in the terrible exertion and anxiety that 
he had undergone. He revived, however, and crawling a 
little farther up the beach, they burrowed for warmth and 
shelter as well as they could in the sand, and lay there 
till the next morning, when they sought and found succor. 

You can not imagine, my dear E , how strikingly 

throughout this w T hole narrative the extraordinary power 

of Mr. C 's character makes itself felt — the immediate 

obedience that he obtained from women whose terror 
might have made them unmanageable, and men whose 
selfishness might have defied his control ; the wise though 
painful firmness which enabled him to order the boat 
away from the side of the perishing vessel, in spite of the 
pity that he felt for the many, in attempting to succor 
whom he could only have jeopardized the few whom he 
was bound to save ; the wonderful influence he exercised 
over the poor oarsmen, whose long protracted labor post- 
poned to the last possible moment the terrible risk of 


their landing. The firmness, courage, humanity, wisdom, 
and presence of mind of all his preparations for their final 
tremendous risk, and the authority which he was able to 
exercise, while struggling in the foaming water for his 
own life and that of the woman and child he was saving, 
over the man who was proving false to a similar sacred 
charge — all these admirable traits are most miserably 
transmitted to you by my imperfect account ; and when I 
assure you that his own narrative, full as it necessarily 
was of the details of his own heroism, was as simple, mod- 
est, and unpretending as it was interesting and touching, 
I am sure you will agree with me that he must be a very 
rare man. When I spoke with enthusiasm to his old fa- 
ther of his son's noble conduct, and asked him if he was 
not proud of it, his sole reply was, " I am glad, madam, 
my son was not selfish." 

Now, E , I have often spoken with you and written 

to you of the disastrous effect of slavery upon the char- 
acter of the white men implicated in it ; many among 
themselves feel and acknowledge it to the fullest extent, 
and no one more than myself can deplore that any human 
being I love should be subjected to such baneful influ- 
ences ; but the devil must have his due, and men brought 
up in habits of peremptory command over their fellow- 
men, and under the constant apprehension of danger, and 
awful necessity of immediate readiness to meet it, acquire 
qualities precious to themselves and others in hours of su- 
preme peril such as this man passed through, saving by 
their exercise himself and all committed to his charge. I 
know that the Southern men are apt to deny the fact that 
they do live under an habitual sense of danger ; but a 
slave population, coerced into obedience, though unarmed 
and half fed, is a threatening source of constant insecurity, 
and every Southern icoman to whom I have spoken on 
the subject has admitted to me that they live in terror of 


their slaves. Happy are such of them as have protectors 
like J C . Such men will best avoid and best en- 
counter the perils that may assail them from the abject 
subject, human element, in the control of which their no- 
ble faculties are sadly and unworthily employed. 

Wednesday, 1 1th April. I rode to-day, after breakfast, 

to Mrs. D 's, another of my neighbors, who lives full 

twelve miles off. During the last two miles of my expe- 
dition I had the white sand hillocks and blue line of the 
Atlantic in view. The house at which I called was a 
tumble-down barrack of a dwelling in the woods, with a 
sort of poverty-stricken pretentious air about it, like sun- 
dry " proud planters' " dwellings that I have seen. I was 
received by the sons as well as the lady of the house, and 
could not but admire the lordly rather than manly indif- 
ference with which these young gentlemen, in gay guard- 
chains and fine attire, played the gallants to me, while 
filthy, barefooted, half-naked negro women brought in re- 
freshments, and stood all the while fanning the cake, and 
sweetmeats, and their young masters, as if they had been 
all the same sort of stuff. I felt ashamed for the lads. 

The conversation turned upon Dr. II 's trial ; for there 

has been a trial as a matter of form, and an acquittal as a 
matter of course ; and the gentlemen said, upon my ex- 
pressing some surprise at the latter event, that there could 
not be found in all Georgia a jury who would convict 
him, which says but little for the moral sense of" all Geor- 
gia." From this most painful subject we fell into the 
Brunswick Canal, and thereafter I took my leave and rode 
home. I met my babies in the wood-wagon, and took 

S up before me, and gave her a good gallop home. 

Having reached the house with the appetite of a twenty- 
four miles' ride, I found no preparation for dinner, and not 
so much as a boiled potato to eat, and the sole reply to 
my famished and disconsolate exclamations was, " Being 


that you order none, missis, I not know." I had forgot- 
ten to order my dinner, and my slaves, unauthorized, had 
not ventured to prepare any. Wouldn't a Yankee have 
said, " Wal, now, you went off so uncommon quick, I 
kinder guessed you forgot all about dinner," and have had 
it all ready for me ? But my slaves durst not, and so I 
fasted till some tea could be got for me. 

This was the last letter I wrote from the plantation, 
and I never returned there, nor ever saw again any of the 
poor people among whom I lived during this winter but 
Jack, once, under sad circumstances. The poor lad's 
health failed so completely that his owners humanely 
brought him to the North, to try what benefit he might 
derive from the change ; but this was before the passing 
of the Fugitive Slave Bill, when, touching the soil of the 
Northern states, a slave became free; and such was the 
apprehension felt lest Jack should be enlightened as to 
this fact by some philanthropic Abolitionist, that he was 
kept shut up in a high upper room of a large empty house, 
where even I was not allowed to visit him. I heard at 
length of his being in Philadelphia ; and upon my distinct 
statement that I considered freeing their slaves the busi- 
ness of the Messrs. themselves, and not mine, I was 

at length permitted to see him. Poor fellow ! coming to 
the North did not prove to him the delight his eager de- 
sire had so often anticipated from it ; nor, under such cir- 
cumstances, is it perhaps much to be wondered at that he 
benefited but little by the change — he died not long after. 

I once heard a conversation between Mr. O and 

Mr. K , the two overseers of the plantation on which 

I was living, upon the question of taking slaves, servants, 

necessary attendants, into the Northern states ; Mr. O 

urged the danger of their being " got hold of," i, e. t set 



free by the Abolitionists, to which Mr. K very per- 
tinently replied, " Oh, stuff and nonsense ; I take care, 
when my wife goes North with the children, to send Lucy 
with her ; her children are down here, and I defy all the 
Abolitionists in creation to get her to stay North" Mr. 
K was an extremely wise man. 


I wrote the following letter after reading several lead- 
ing articles in the Times newspaper, at the time of the 
great sensation occasioned by Mrs. Beecher Stowe's novel 
of " Uncle Tom's Cabin," and after the Anti-slavery Pro- 
test which that book induced the women of England to 
address to those of America on the subject of the con- 
dition of the slaves in the Southern states. 

My deae E , — I have read the articles in the Times 

to which you refer on the subject of the inaccuracy of 
Mrs. Beecher Stowe's book as a picture of slavery in 
America, and have ascertained who they were written by. 
Having done so, I do not think it worth while to send 
my letter for insertion, because, as that is the tone de- 
liberately taken upon the subject by that paper, my 
counter statement would not, I imagine, be admitted into 
its columns. I inclose% to you, as I should like you to 
see how far from true, according to my experience, the 
statements of the " Timeg Correspondent" are. It is 
impossible, of course, to know why it erects itself into an 
advocate for slavery; and the most charitable conjecture 
I can form upon the subject is, that the Stafford House 
demonstration may have been thought likely to wound 
the sensitive national views of America upon this subject; 
and the statement put forward by the Times, contradict- 
ing Mrs. Stowe's picture, may be intended to soothe their 
irritation at the philanthropic zeal of our lady Abolition- 
ists. Believe me, dear E , yours always truly, 

F. A. K. 


Letter to the Editor of the " Times." 
Sir, — As it is not to be supposed that you consciously 
afford the support of your great influence to misstate- 
ments, I request your attention to some remarks I wish 
to make on an article on a book called "Uncle Tom's 
Cabin as it is," contained in your paper of the 11th. In 
treating Mrs. Harriet Beecher Stowe's work as an exag- 
gerated picture of the evils of slavery, I beg to assure you 
that you do her serious injustice: of the merits of her 
book as a work of art I have no desire to speak ; to its 
power as a most interesting and pathetic story, all En- 
gland and America can bear witness ; but of its truth and 
moderation as a representation of the slave system in the 
United States, I can testify with the experience of an eye- 
witness, having been a resident in the Southern states, 
and had opportunities of observation such as no one who 
has not lived on a slave estate can have. It is very true 
that in reviving the altogether exploded fashion of mak- 
ing the hero of her novel " the perfect monster that the 
world ne'er saw," Mrs. Stowe has laid herself open to fair 
criticism, and must expect to meet with it from the very 
opposite taste of the present day; but the ideal excellence 
of her principal character is no Argument at all against 
the general accuracy of her statements with regard to the 
evils of slavery ; every thing else in her book is not only 
possible, but probable, and not only probable, but a very 
faithful representation of the existing facts : faithful, and 
not, as you accuse it of being, exaggerated ; for, with the 
exception of the horrible catastrophe, the flogging to 
death of poor Tom, she has portrayed none of the most 
revolting instances of crime produced by the slave sys- 
tem, with which she might have darkened her picture, 
without detracting from its perfect truth. Even with re- 
spect to the incident of Tom's death, it must not be said 


that if such an event is possible, it is hardly probable ; for 
this is unfortunately not true. It is not true that the 
value of the slave as property infallibly protects his life 
from the passions of his master. • It is no new thing for a 
man's passions to blind him to his most obvious and im- 
mediate temporal interests, as well as to his higher and 
everlasting ones — in various parts of the world and stages 
of civilization, various human passions assume successive 
prominence, and become developed, to the partial exclu- 
sion or deadening of others. In savage existence, and 
those states of civilization least removed from it, the ani- 
mal passions predominate. In highly cultivated modern 
society, where the complicated machinery of human exist- 
ence is at once a perpetually renewed cause and effect of 
certain legal and moral restraints, which, in the shape of 
government and public opinion, protect the congregated 
lives and interests of men from the worst outrages of 
open violence, the natural selfishness of mankind assumes 
a different development, and the love of power, of pleas- 
ure, or of pelf, exhibits different phenomena from those 
elicited from a savage under the influence of the same 
passions. The channel in which the energy and activity 
of modern society inclines more and more to pour itself 
is the peaceful one of the pursuit of gain. This is pre- 
eminently the case with the two great commercial nations 
of the earth, England and America ; and in either En- 
gland or the Northern states of America, the prudential 
and practical views of life prevail so far, that instances of 
men sacrificing their money interests at the instigation 
of rage, revenge, and hatred will certainly not abound. 
But the Southern slaveholders are a very different race 
of men from either Manchester manufacturers or Massa- 
chusetts merchants ; they are a remnant of barbarism and 
feudalism, maintaining itself with infinite difficulty and 
danger by the side of the latest and most powerful de- 
velopment of commercial civilization. 


The inhabitants of Baltimore, Richmond, Charleston, 
Savannah, and New Orleans, whose estates lie, like the 
suburban retreats of our city magnates, in the near neigh- 
borhood of their respective cities, are not now the people 
I refer to. They are softened and enlightened by many 
influences — the action of city life itself, where human 
sympathy and human respect, stimulated by neighbor- 
hood, produce salutary social restraint as well as less salu- 
tary social cowardice. They traveHo the Northern states 
and to Europe, and Europe and the Northern states travel 
to them, and, in spite of themselves, their peculiar -condi- 
tions receive modifications from foreign intercourse. The 
influence, too, of commercial enterprise, which in these lat- 
ter days is becoming the agent of civilization all over the 
earth, affects even the uncommercial residents of the South- 
ern cities, and, however cordially they may dislike or de- 
spise the mercantile tendencies of Atlantic Americans or 
transatlantic Englishmen, their frequent contact with them 
breaks down some of the barriers of difference between 
them, and humanizes the slaveholder of the great cicies 
into some relation with the spirit of his own times and 
country. But these men are but a most inconsiderable 
portion of the slaveholding population of the South — a 
nation, for as such they should be spoken of, of men whose 
organization and temperament is that of the southern Eu- 
ropean ; living under the influence of a climate at once 
enervating and exciting ; scattered over trackless wilder- 
nesses of arid sand and pestilential swamp ; intrenched 
within their own boundaries ; surrounded by creatures 
absolutely subject to their despotic will ; delivered over 
by hard necessity to the lowest excitements of drinking, 
gambling, and debauchery for sole recreation ; independ- 
ent of all opinion ; ignorant of all progress ; isolated from 
all society — it is impossible to conceive a more savage ex- 
istence within the pale of any modern civilization. 


The South Carolinian gentry have been fond of styling 
themselves the chivalry of the South, and perhaps might 
not badly represent, in their relations with their depend- 
ents, the nobility of France before the purifying hurricane 
of the Revolution swept the rights of the suzerain and the 
wrongs of the serf together into one bloody abyss. The 
planters of the interior of the Southern and Southwestern 
states, with their furious feuds and slaughterous combats, 
their stabbings and pistolings, their gross sensuality, bru- 
tal ignorance, and despotic cruelty, resemble the chivalry 
of France before the horrors of the Jacquerie admonished 
them that there was a limit even to the endurance of slaves. 
With such men as these, human life, even when it can be 
bought or sold in the market for so many dollars, is but 
little protected by considerations of interest from the 
effects of any violent passion. There is yet, however, an- 
other aspect of the question, which is, that it is sometimes 
clearly not the interest of the owner to prolong the life of 
his slaves ; as in the case of inferior or superannuated la- 
borers, or the very notorious instance in which some of 
the owners of sugar plantations stated that they found it 
better worth their while to icork off{i. e., kill with labor) 
a certain proportion of their force, and replace them by 
new hands every seven years, than work them less severe- 
ly and maintain them in diminished efficiency for an indef- 
inite length of time. Here you will observe a precise es- 
timate of the planter's material interest led to a result 
which you argue passion itself can never be so blind as to 
adopt. This was a deliberate economical calculation, 
openly avowed some years ago by a number of sugar 
planters in Louisiana. If, instead of accusing Mrs. Stowe 
of exaggeration, you had brought the same charge against 
the author of the " White Slave," I should not have been 
surprised ; for his book presents some of the most revolt- 
ing instances of atrocity and crime that the miserable 


abuse of irresponsible power is capable of producing, and 
it is by no means written in the spirit of universal human- 
ity which pervades Mrs. Stowe's volumes ; but it is not 
liable to the charge of exaggeration any more than her 
less disgusting delineation. The scenes described in the 
" White Slave" do occur in the slave states of North 
America ; and in two of the most appalling incidents of 
the book — the burning alive of the captured runaway, and 
the hanging without trial of the Vicksburg gamblers — 
the author of the " White Slave" has very simply related 
positive facts of notorious occurrence. To which he might 
have added, had he seen fit to do so, the instance of a slave 
who perished in the sea-swamps, where he was left bound 
and naked, a prey to the torture inflicted upon him by the 
venomous musquito swarms. My purpose, however, in 
addressing you was not to enter into a disquisition on 
either of these publications ; but I am not sorry to take 
this opportunity of bearing witness to the truth of Mrs. 
Stowe's admirable book, and I have seen what few En- 
glishmen can see — the working of the system in the midst 
of it. 

In reply to your " Dispassionate Observer," who went 
to the South professedly with the purpose of seeing and 
judging of the state of things for himself, let me tell you 
that, little as he may be disposed to believe it, his testi- 
mony is worth less than nothing ; for it is morally impos- 
sible for any Englishman going into the Southern states, 
except as a resident, to know any thing whatever of the 
real condition of the slave population. This was the case 
some years ago, as I experienced, and it is now likely to 
be more the case than ever ; for the institution is not yet 
approved divine to the perceptions of Englishmen, and 
the Southerners are as anxious to hide its uglier features 
from any note-making observer from this side of the wa- 
ter as to present to his admiration and approval such as 


can by any possibility be made to wear the most distant 
approach to comeliness. 

The gentry of the Southern states are pre-eminent in 
their own country for that species of manner which, con- 
trasted with the breeding of the Northerners, would be 
emphatically pronounced " good" by Englishmen. Born 
to inhabit landed property, they are not inevitably made 
clerks and counting-house men of, but inherit with their 
estates some of the invariable characteristics of an aristoc- 
racy. The shop is not their element ; and the eager spirit 
of speculation and the sordid spirit of gain do not infect 
their whole existence, even to their very demeanor and 
appearance, as they too manifestly do those of a large pro- 
portion of the inhabitants of the Northern states. Good 
manners have an undue value for Englishmen, generally 
speaking; and whatever departs from their peculiar stand- 
ard of breeding is apt to prejudice them, as whatever ap- 
proaches it prepossesses them, far more than is reasonable. 
The Southerners are infinitely better bred men, according 
to English notions, than the men of the Northern states. 
The habit of command gives them a certain self-possession, 
the enjoyment of leisure a certain ease. Their tempera- 
ment is impulsive and enthusiastic, and their manners have 
the grace and spirit which seldom belong to the deport- 
ment of a Northern people ; but, upon more familiar ac- 
quaintance, the vices of the social system to which they 
belong will be found to have infected them with their own 
peculiar taint ; and haughty, overbearing irritability, ef- 
feminate indolence, reckless extravagance, and a union of 
profligacy and cruelty, which is the immediate result of 
their irresponsible power over their dependents, are some 
of the less pleasing traits which acquaintance develops in 
a Southern character. In spite of all this, there is no man- 
ner of doubt that the " candid English observer" will, for 
the season of his sojourning among them, greatly prefer 


their intercourse to that of their Northern brethren. More- 
over, without in the least suspecting it, he will be bribed 
insidiously and incessantly by the extreme desire and en- 
deavor to please and prepossess him which the whole 
white population of the slave states will exhibit — as long 
as he goes only as a " candid observer," with a mind not 
yet made up upon the subject of slavery, and open to con- 
viction as to its virtues. Every conciliating demonstra- 
tion of courtesy and hospitable kindness will be extended 
to him, and, as I said before, if his observation is permit- 
ted (and it may even appear to be courted), it will be to 
a fairly bound, purified edition of the black book of slav- 
ery, in which, though the inherent viciousness of the whole 
story can not be suppressed, the coarser and more offens- 
ive passages will be carefully expunged. And now per- 
mit me to observe that the remarks of your traveler must 
derive much of their value from the scene of his inquiry. 
In Maryland, Kentucky, and Virginia, the outward aspect 
of slavery has ceased to wear its most deplorable features. 
The remaining vitality of the system no longer resides in 
the interests, but in the pride and prejudices of the plant- 
ers. Their soil and climate are alike favorable to the la- 
bors of a white peasantry : the slave cultivation has had 
time to prove itself there the destructive pest which, in 
time, it will prove itself wherever it prevails. The vast 
estates and large fortunes that once maintained, and were 
maintained by, the serfdom of hundreds of negroes, have 
dwindled in size and sunk in value, till the slaves have be- 
come so heavy a burden on the resources of the exhausted 
soil and impoverished owners of it, that they are made 
themselves objects of traffic in order to ward off the ruin 
that their increase would otherwise entail. Thus the plan- 
tations of the Northern slave states now present to the 
traveler very few of the darker and more oppressive pe- 
culiarities of the system ; and, provided he does not stray 


too near the precincts where the negroes are sold, or come 
across gangs of them on their way to Georgia, Louisiana, 
or Alabama, he may, if he is a very superficial observer, 
conclude that the most prosperous slavery is not much 
worse than the most miserable freedom. 

But of what value will be such conclusions applied to 
those numerous plantations where no white man ever sets 
foot without the express permission of the owner ? not 
estates lying close to Baltimore and Charleston, or even 
Lexington and Savannah, but remote and savage wilder- 
nesses like Legree's estate in " Uncle Tom," like all the 
plantations in the interior of Tennessee and Alabama, like 
the cotton-fields and rice-swamps of the great muddy riv- 
ers of Louisiana and Georgia, like the dreary pine barrens 
and endless woody wastes of North Carolina. These, es- 
pecially the islands, are like so many fortresses, approach- 
able for "observers" only at the owners' will. On most 
of the rice plantations in these pestilential regions, no 
white man can pass the night at certain seasons of the 
year without running the risk of his life ; and during the 
day, the master and overseer are as much alone and irre- 
sponsible in their dominion over their black cattle, as Rob- 
inson Crusoe was over his small family of animals on his 
desert habitation. Who, on such estates as these, shall 
witness to any act of tyranny or barbarity, however atro- 
cious ? No black man's testimony is allowed against a 
white, and who, on the dismal swampy rice-grounds of the 
Savannah, or the sugar-brakes of the Mississippi and its 
tributaries, or the up-country cotton-lands of the Ocmul- 
gee, shall go to perform the task of candid observation 
and benevolent inquiry ? 

I passed some time on two such estates — plantations 
where the negroes esteemed themselves well off, and, com- 
pared with the slaves on several of the neighboring prop- 
erties, might very well consider themselves so ; and I will, 


with your permission, contrast some of the items of my 
observation with those of the traveler whose report you 
find so satisfactory on the subject of the " consolations" 
of slavery. 

And, first, for the attachment which he affirms to sub- 
sist between the slave and master. I do not deny that 
certain manifestations on the part of the slave may sug- 
gest the idea of such a feeling ; but whether, upon better 
examination, it will be found to deserve the name, I very 
much doubt. In the first place, on some of the great 
Southern estates, the owners are habitual absentees, ut- 
terly unknown to their serfs, and enjoying the proceeds 
of their labor in residences as far remote as possible from 
the sands and swamps where their rice and cotton grow, 
and their slaves bow themselves under the eye of the 
white overseer, and the lash of the black driver. Some 
of these Sybarites prefer living in Paris, that paradise of 
American republicans, some in the capitals of the Middle 
States of the Union, Philadelphia or New York. 

The air of New England has a keen edge of liberty, 
which suits few Southern constitutions ; and unkindly as 
abolition has found its native soil and native skies, that is 
its birthplace, and there it flourishes, in spite of all at- 
tempts to root it out and trample it down, and within any 
atmosphere poisoned by its influence no slaveholder can 
willingly draw breath. Some travel in Europe, and few, 
whose means permit the contrary, ever paSiS the entire 
year on their plantations. Great intervals of many years 
pass, and no master ever visits some of these properties : 
what species of attachment do you think the slave enter- 
tains for him ? In other cases, the visits made will be of 
a few days in one of the winter months, the estate and its 
cultivators remaining for the rest of the year under the 
absolute control of the overseer, who, provided he con- 
trives to get a good crop of rice or cotton into the mar- 


ket for his employers, is left to the arbitrary exercise of a 
will seldom uninfluenced for evil by the combined effects 
of the grossest ignorance and habitual intemperance. The 
temptation to the latter vice is almost irresistible to a 
white man in such a climate, and leading an existence of 
brutal isolation, among a parcel of human beings as like 
brutes as they can be made. But the owner who at these 
distant intervals of months or years revisits his estates, is 
looked upon as a returning providence by the poor ne- 
groes. They have no experience of his character to de- 
stroy their hopes in his goodness, and all possible and im- 
possible ameliorations of their condition are anticipated 
from his advent, less work, more food, fewer stripes, and 
some of that consideration which the slave hopes may 
spring from his positive money value to his owner — a fal- 
lacious dependence, as I have already attempted to show, 
but one which, if it has not always predominating weight 
with the master, never can have any with the overseer, 
who has not even the feeling of regard for his own prop- 
erty to mitigate his absolutism over the slaves of another 

There is a very powerful cause which makes the pros- 
perity and well-being (as far as life is concerned) of most 
masters a subject of solicitude with their slaves. The 
only stability of their condition, such as it is, hangs upon 
it. If the owner of a plantation dies, his estates may fall 
into the market, and his slaves be sold at public auction 
the next day; and whether this promises a better, or 
threatens a worse condition, the slaves can not know, and 
no human being cares. One thing it inevitably brings, 
the uprooting of all old associations ; the disruption of all 
the ties of fellowship in misery ; the tearing asunder of 
all relations of blood and affection ; the sale into separate 
and far - distant districts of fathers, mothers, husbands, 
wives, and children. If the estate does not lie in the ex- 


treme South, there is the vague dread of being driven 
thither from Virginia to Georgia, from Carolina to Ala- 
bama, or Louisiana, a change which, for reasons I have 
shown above, implies the passing from a higher into a low- 
er circle of the infernal pit of slavery. 

I once heard a slave on the plantation of an absentee 
express the most lively distress at hearing that his master 
was ill. Before, however, I had recovered from my sur- 
prise at this warm " attachment" to a distant and all but 
unknown proprietor, the man added, "Massa die, what 
become of all him people ?" 

On my arrival on the plantation where I resided, I was 
hailed with the most extravagant demonstrations of de- 
light, and all but lifted off my feet in the arms of people 
who had never seen me before, but who, knowing me to 
be connected with their owners, expected from me some 
of the multitudinous benefits which they always hope to 
derive from masters. These, until they come to reside 
among them, are always believed to be sources of benefi- 
cence and fountains of redress by the poor people, who 
have known no rule but the delegated tyranny of the 
overseer. In these expectations, however, they very soon 
find themselves cruelly mistaken. Of course, if the ab- 
sentee planter has received a satisfactory income from his 
estate, he is inclined to be satisfied with the manager of 
it; and as subordination to the only white man among 
hundreds of blacks must be maintained at any and every 
cost, the overseer is justified and upheld in his whole ad- 
ministration. If the wretched slave ever dared to prefer 
a complaint of ill usage the most atrocious, the law which 
refuses the testimony of a black against a white is not 
only the law of the land, but of every man's private deal- 
ings ; and lying being one of the natural results of slavery, 
and a tendency to shirk compelled and unrequited labor 
another, the overseer stands on excellent vantage-ground 


when he refers to these undoubted characteristics of the 
system, if called upon to rebut any charge of cruelty or 
injustice. But pray consider for a moment the probability 
of any such charge being preferred by a poor creature 
who has been for years left to the absolute disposal of this 
man, and who knows very well that 'in a few days, or 
months at farthest, the master will again depart, leaving 
him again for months, perhaps for years, utterly at the 
mercy of the man against whom he has dared to prefer a 
complaint. On the estates which I visited, the owners 
had been habitually absent, and the " attachment" of slaves 
to such masters as these, you will allow, can hardly come 
under the denomination of a strong personal feeling. 

Your authority next states that the infirm and superan- 
nuated slaves no longer capable of ministering to their 
masters' luxuries, on the estate that he visited, were end- 
ing their lives among all the comforts of home, with kin- 
dred and friends around them, in a condition which he 
contrasts, at least by implication, very favorably with the 
work-house, the last refuge provided by the social human- 
ity of England for the pauper laborer when he has reached 
that term when "unregarded a^e is in corners thrown." 
On the plantation where I lived the Infirmary was a large 
room, the walls of which were simply mud and laths; the 
floor, the soil itself, damp with perpetual drippings from 
the holes in the roof; and the open space which served 
for a window was protected only by a broken shutter, 
which, in order to exclude the cold, was drawn so near as 
almost to exclude the light at the same time. Upon this 
earthen floor, with nothing but its hard, damp surface 
beneath him, no covering but a tattered shirt and trow- 
sers, and a few sticks under his head for a pillow, lav an 
old man of upward of seventy,, dying. When I first 
looked at him I thought, by the glazed stare of his eyes, 
and the flies that had gathered round his half-open mouth, 


that he was dead ; but on stooping nearer, I perceived 
that the last faint struggle of life was still going on, but 
even while I bent over him it ceased ; and so, like a worn- 
out hound, with no creature to comfort or relieve his last 
agony, with neither Christian solace or human succor near 
him, with neither wife, nor child, nor even friendly fellow- 
being to lift his head from the knotty sticks on which he 
had rested it, or drive away the insects that buzzed round 
his lips and nostrils like those of a fallen beast, died 
this poor old slave, whose life had been exhausted in un- 
requited labor, the fruits of which had gone to pamper 
the pride and feed the luxury of those who knew and 
cared neither for his life or death, and to whom, if they 
had heard of the latter, it would have been a matter of 
absolute though small gain, the saving of a daily pittance 
of meal, which served to prolong a life no longer available 
to them. 

I proceed to the next item in your observer's record. 
All children below the age of twelve were unemployed, 
he says, on the estate he visited : this is perhaps a ques- 
tionable benefit, when, no process of mental cultivation 
being permitted, the only employment for the leisure thus 
allowed is that of rolling, like dogs or cats, in the sand 
and the sun. On all the plantations I visited, and on 
those where I resided, the infants in arms were committed 
to the care of these juvenile slaves, who were denominated 
nurses, and whose sole employment was what they call to 
" mind baby." The poor little negro sucklings were cared 
for (I leave to your own judgment how efficiently or how 
tenderly) by these half-savage slips of slavery — carried by 
them to the fields where their mothers were working un- 
der the lash, to receive their needful nourishment, and 
then carried back again to the " settlement," or collection 
of negro huts, where they wallowed unheeded in utter 
filth and neglect until the time again returned for their 


being carried to their mother's breast. Such was the em- 
ployment of the children of eight or nine years old, and 
the only supervision exercised over either babies or 
" baby-minders" was that of the old woman left in charge 
of the Infirmary, where she made her abode all day long, 
and bestowed such samples of her care and skill upon its 
inmates as I shall have occasion to mention presently. 
The practice of thus driving the mothers afield, even 
while their infants were still dependent upon them for 
their daily nourishment, is one of which the evil as well 
as the cruelty is abundantly apparent without comment. 
The next note of admiration elicited from your " impartial 
observer" is bestowed upon the fact that the domestic 
servants (i. c, house slaves) on the plantation he visited 
were allowed to live away from the owner's residence, and 
to marry. But I never was on a Southern plantation, and 
I never heard of one, where any of the slaves were allowed 
to sleep under the same roof with their owner. "With the 
exception of the women to whose care the children of the 
planter, if he had any, might be confided, and perhaps a 
little boy or girl slave, kept as a sort of pet animal, and 
allowed to pass the night on the floor of the sleeping 
apartment of some member of the family, the residence of 
any slaves belonging to a plantation night and day in 
their master's house, like Northern or European servants, 
is a thing I believe unknown throughout the Southern 
states. Of course I except the cities, and speak only of 
the estates, where the house-servants are neither better 
housed or accommodated than the field-hands. Their in- 
tolerably dirty habits and offensive persons would indeed 
render it a severe trial to any family accustomed to habits 
of decent cleanliness ; and, moreover, considerations of 
safety, and that cautious vigilance which is a hard neces- 
sity of the planter's existence, in spite of the supposed 
attachment of his slaves, would never permit the neai 



proximity, during the unprotected hours of the night, of 
those whose intimacy with the daily habits and knowledge 
of the nightly securities resorted to might prove terrible 
auxiliaries to any attack from without. The city guards, 
patrols, and night-watches, together with their stringent 
rules about about negroes being abroad after night, and 
their well-fortified lock-up houses for all detected without 
a pass, afford some security against these attached de- 
pendents ; but on remote plantations, where the owner 
and his family, and perhaps a white overseer are alone, 
surrounded by slaves and separated from all succor against 
them, they do not sleep under the white man's roof, and 
for politic reasons, pass the night away from their mas- 
ter's abode. The house-servants have no other or better 
allowance of food than the field-laborers, but have the 
advantage of eking it out by what is left from the mas- 
ter's table — if possible, with even less comfort in one re- 
spect, inasmuch as no time whatever is set apart for their 
meals, which they snatch at any hour and in any way that 
they can — generally, however, standing or squatting on 
their hams round the kitchen fire ; the kitchen being a 
mere out-house or barn with a fire in it. On the estate 
where I lived, as I have mentioned, they had no sleeping- 
rooms in the house ; but when their work was over, they 
retired like the rest to their hovels, the discomfort of 
which had to them all the additional disadvantage of com- 
parison w T ith their owner's mode of living. In all estab- 
lishments whatever, of course some disparity exists be- 
tween the accommodation of the drawing-rooms and best 
bedrooms and the servants' kitchen and attics ; but on a 
plantation it is no longer a matter of degree. The young 
women who performed the offices of waiting and house- 
maids, and the lads who attended upon the service of their 
master's table where I lived, had neither table to feed at 
nor chair to sit down upon themselves ; the " boys" lay 


all night on the hearth by the kitchen fire, and the women 
upon the usual slave's bed — a frame of rough boards, strew- 
ed with a little moss off the trees, with the addition per- 
haps of a tattered and filthy blanket. As for the so-call- 
ed privilege of marrying — surely it is gross mockery to 
apply such a word to a bond which may be holy in God's 
sight, but which did not prevent the owner of a planta- 
tion where my observations were made from selling and 
buying men and their so-called wives and children into 
divided bondage, nor the white overseer from compelling 
the wife of one of the most excellent and exemplary of 
his master's slaves to live with him ; nor the white wife 
of another overseer, in her husband's temporary absence 
from the estate, from barbarously flogging three married 
slaves within a month of their confinement, their condi- 
tion being the result of the profligacy of the said overseer, 
and probably compelled by the very same lash by which 
it was punished. This is a very disgusting picture of 
married life on slave estates ; but I have undertaken to 
reply to the statements of your informant, and I regret 
to be obliged to record the facts by which alone I can do 
so. " Work," continues your authority, " began at six 
in the morning; at nine an hour's rest was allowed for 
breakfast, and by two or three o'clock the day's work 
was done." Certainly this was a pattern plantation, and 
I can only lament that my experience lay amid such far 
less favorable circumstances. The negroes among whom 
I lived went to the fields at daybreak, carrying with them 
their allowance of food, which toward noon, and not till 
then, they ate, cooking it over a fire which they kindled 
as best they could where they were working; their sec- 
ond meal in the day was at night, after their labor was 
over, having worked at the very least six hours without 
rest or refreshment since their noonday meal — properly 
so called, indeed, for it was meal and nothing else, or a 


preparation something thicker than porridge, which they 
call hominy. Perhaps the candid observer, whose report 
of the estate he visited appeared to you so consolatory, 
would think that this diet contrasted favorably with that 
of potato and buttermilk fed Irish laborers. But a more 
just comparison surely would be with the mode of liv- 
ing of the laboring population of the United States, the 
peasantry of Ohio, Pennsylvania, and Massachusetts, or 
indeed with the condition of those very potato and but- 
termilk fed Irishmen when they have exchanged their 
native soil for the fields of the Northern and North- 
western states, and when, as one of them once was heard 
to say, it was of no use writing home that he got meat 
three times a day, for nobody in Ireland would believe 
it. The. next item in the list of commendation is the 
hospital, which your informant also visited, and of which 
he gives the following account : " It consisted of three 
separate wards, all clean and well ventilated : one was for 
lying-in women, who were invariably allowed a month's 
rest after their confinement." Permit me to place be- 
side this picture that of a Southern Infirmary, such as I 
saw it, and taken on the spot. In the first room that 
I entered I found only half of the windows, of which 
there were six, glazed ; these w T ere almost as much ob- 
scured with dirt as the other windowless ones were dark- 
ened by the dingy shutters which the shivering inmates 
had closed in order to protect themselves from the cold. 
In the enormous chimney glimmered the powerless em- 
bers of a few chips of wood, round which as many of 
the sick women as had strength to approach were cow- 
ering, some on wooden settles (there was not such a thing 
as a chair with a back in the whole establishment), most 
of them on the ground, excluding those who were too ill 
to rise; and these poor wretches lay prostrate on the 
earth, without bedstead, bed, mattress, or pillow, with no 


covering but the clothes they had on and some filthy rags 
of blanket in which they endeavored to wrap themselves 
as they lay literally strewing the floor, so that there was 
hardly room to pass between them. Here, in their hour of 
sickness and suffering, lay those wmose health and strength 
had given way under unrequited labor — some of them, no 
later than the previous day, had been urged with the lash 
to their ' accustomed tasks — and their husbands, fathers, 
brothers, and sons were. even at that hour sweating over 
the earth whose increase was. to procure for others all the 
luxuries which health can enjoy, all the comforts which can 
alleviate sickness. Here lay women expecting every hour 
the terror and agonies of childbirth, others who had just 
brought their doomed offspring into the world, others 
who were groaning under the anguish and bitter disap- 
pointment of miscarriages — here lay some burning with 
fever, others chilled with cold and aching with rheuma- 
tism, upon the hard cold ground, the draughts and damp 
of the atmosphere increasing their sufferings, and dirt, 
noise, stench, and every aggravation of which sickness is 
capable combined in their condition. There had been 
among them one or two cases of prolonged and terribly 
hard labor ; and the method adoj)ted by the ignorant old 
negress, who was the sole matron, midwife, nurse, physi- 
cian, surgeon, and servant of the Infirmary, to assist them 
in their extremity, was to tie a cloth tight round the throats 
of the agonized women, and by drawing it till she almost 
suffocated them she produced violent and spasmodic strug- 
gles, which she assured me she thought materially assist- 
ed the progress of the labor. This was one of the South- 
ern Infirmaries with which I was acquainted ; and I beg to 
conclude this chapter of contrasts to your informant's con- 
solatory views of slavery by assuring you once more very 
emphatically that they have been one and all drawn from 
estates where the slaves esteemed themselves well treat- 


ed, were reputed generally to be so, and undoubtedly, as 
far as my observation went, were so, compared witli those 
on several of the adjoining plantations. 

With regard to the statement respecting the sums of 
money earned by industrious negroes, there is no doubt 
that it is perfectly correct. I know of some slaves on a 
plantation in the extreme South who had received, at va- 
rious times, large sums of money from a shopkeeper in the 
small town near their estate for the gray moss or lichen 
collected from the evergreen oaks of Carolina and Geor- 
gia, upon which it hangs in vast masses, and after some 
cleaning process becomes an excellent substitute for horse- 
hair, for bed, chair, and sofa-stuffing. On another estate, 
some of the slaves were expert boat-makers, and had been 
allowed by their masters to retain the price (no inconsid- 
erable one) for some that they had found time to manu- 
facture after their day's labor was accomplished. These 
were undoubtedly privileges ; but I confess it appears to 
me that the juster view of the matter would be this : if 
these men were industrious enough, out of their scanty 
leisure, to earn these sums of money, which a mere exer- 
cise of arbitrary will on the part of the master allowed 
them to keep, how much more of remuneration, of com- 
fort, of improvement, physical and mental, might they not 
have achieved, had the due price of their daily labor mere- 
ly been paid to them ? It seems to me that this is the 
mode of putting the case to Englishmen, and all who have 
not agreed to consider uncertain favor an equivalent for 
common justice in the dealings of man w T ith man. As the 
slaves are well known to toil for years sometimes to amass 
the means of rescuing themselves from bondage, the fact 
of their being able and sometimes allowed to earn consid- 
erable sums of money is notorious. But now that I have 
answered one by one the instances you have produced, 
with others — I am sure as accurate, and I believe as com- 


mon — of an entirely opposite description, permit me to 
ask you what this sort of testimony amounts to. I allow 
you full credit for yours, allow me full credit for mine, 
and the result is very simply a nullification of the one by 
the other statement, and a proof that there is as much 
good as evil in the details of slavery ; but now, be pleased 
to throw into the scale this consideration, that the princi- 
ple of the whole is unmitigated abominable evil, as by 
your own acknowledgment you hold it to be, and add, 
moreover, that the principle being invariably bad beyond 
the power of the best man acting under it to alter its ex- 
ecrable injustice, the goodness of the detail is a matter ab- 
solutely dependent upon the will of each individual slave- 
holder, so that though the best can not make the system 
in the smallest particular better, the bad can make every 
practical detail of it as atrocious as the principle itself; 
and then tell me upon what ground you palliate a mon- 
strous iniquity, which is the rule, because of the accident- 
al exceptions which go to prove it. Moreover, if, as you 
have asserted, good preponderates over evil in the prac- 
tice, though not in the theory of slavery, or it would not 
maintain its existence, why do you uphold to us, with so 
much complacency, the hope that it is surely, if not rapid- 
ly approaching its abolishment ? Why is the preponder- 
ating good, which has, as you say, proved sufficient to up- 
hold the institution hitherto, to become (in spite of the 
spread of civilization and national progress, and the grad- 
ual improvement of the slaves themselves) inadequate to 
its perpetuation henceforward ? Or why, if good really 
has prevailed in it, do you rejoice that it is speedily to 
pass away? You say the emancipation of the slaves is 
inevitable, and that through progressive culture the negro 
of the Southern states daily approaches more nearly to 
the recovery of the rights of which he has been robbed. 
But whence do you draw this happy augury, except from 


the hope, which all Christian souls must cherish, that God 
will not permit much longer so great a wickedness to 

darken the face of the earth ? Surely the increased strin- 
gency of the Southern slave-laws, the more than ever vig- 
ilant precautions against all attempts to enlighten or edu- 
cate the negroes, the severer restrictions on manumission, 
the thrusting forth out of certain states of all free persons 
of color, the atrocious Fugitive Slave Bill, one of the latest 
achievements of Congress, and the piratical attempt upon 
Cuba, avowedly, on the part of all Southerners, abetting 
or justifying it because it will add slave territory and 
000,000 slaves to their possessions — surely these do not 
seem indications of the better state of things you antici- 
pate, except, indeed, as the straining of the chain beyond 
all endurable tightness significantly suggests the proba- 
bility of its giving way. 

I do not believe the planters have any disposition to 
put an end to slavery, nor is it perhaps much to be won- 
dered at that they have not. To do so is, in the opinion 
of the majority of them, to run the risk of losing their 
property, perhaps their lives, for a benefit which they pro- 
fess to think doubtful to the slaves themselves. How far 
they are right in anticipating ruin from the manumission 
of their slaves I think questionable, but that they do so is 
certain, and self-impoverishment for the sake of abstract 
principle is not a thing to be reasonably expected from 
any large class of men. But, besides the natural fact that 
the slaveholders wish to retain their property, emancipa- 
tion is, in their view of it, not only a risk of enormous pe- 
cuniary loss, and of their entire social status, but involves 
"elements of personal danger, and, above all, disgust to in- 
veterate prejudices, which they will assuredly never en- 
counter. The question is not alone one of foregoing great 
wealth or the mere means of subsistence (in either case 
almost equally hard) ; it is not alone the unbinding the 


bands of those who have many a bloody debt of hatred 
and revenge to settle ; it is not alone the consenting sud- 
denly to see by their side, upon a footing of free social 
equality, creatures toward whom their predominant feel- 
ing is one of mingled terror and abhorrence, and who, 
during the Avhole of their national existence, have been, 
as the earth, trampled beneath their feet, yet ever threat- 
ening to gape and swallow them alive. It is not all this 
alone which makes it unlikely that the Southern planter 
should desire to free his slaves : freedom in America is not 
merely a personal right ; it involves a political privilege. 
Freemen there are legislators. The rulers of the land are 
the majority of the people, and in many parts of the South- 
ern states the black free citizens would become, if not at 
once, yet in process of time, inevitably voters, landholders, 
delegates to state Legislatures, members of Assembly — 
who knows? — senators, judges, aspirants to the presiden- 
cy of the United States. You must be an American, or 
have lived long among them, to conceive the shout of de- 
risive execration with which such an idea would be hailed 
from one end of the land to the other. 

That the emancipation of the negroes need not neces- 
sarily put them in possession of the franchise is of course 
obvious ; but, as a general consequence, the one would fol- 
low from the other; and at present certainly the slave- 
holders are no more ready to grant the political privilege 
than the natural right of freedom. Under these circum- 
stances, though the utmost commiseration is naturally ex- 
cited by the slaves, I agree with you that some forbear- 
ance is due to the masters. It is difficult to conceive a 
more awful position than theirs : fettered by laws which 
impede every movement toward right and justice, and ut- 
terly without the desire to repeal them — dogged by the 
apprehension of nameless retributions — bound beneath a 
burden of responsibility for which, whether they acknowl- 



edge it or not, they are held accountable by God and men 
— goaded by the keen consciousness of the growing rep- 
robation of all civilized Christian communities, their exist- 
ence presents the miserable moral counterpart of the phys- 
ical condition of their slaves ; and it is one compared with 
which that of the wretchedest slave is, in my judgment, 
worthy of envy. 

Letter to C. G. y Esq. 

Before entering upon my answer to your questions, 
let me state that I have no claim to be ranked as an Abo- 
litionist in the American acceptation of the word, for I 
have hitherto held the emancipation of the slaves to be 
exclusively the business and duty of their owners, whose 
highest moral interest I thought it was to rid themselves 
of such a responsibility, in spite of the manifold worldly 
interests almost inextricably bound up with it. 

This has been my feeling hitherto with regard to the 
views of the Abolitionists, which I now, however, heartily 
embrace, inasmuch as I think that from the moment the 
United States government assumed an attitude of coer- 
cion and supremacy toward the Southern states, it w r as 
bound, with its fleets and armies, to introduce its polity 
with respect to slavery, and wherever it planted the stand- 
ard of the Union, to proclaim the universal freedom which 
is the recognized law of the Northern United States. That 
they have not done so has been partly owing to a super- 
stitious but honorable veneration for the letter of their 
great charter, the Constitution, and still more to the hope 
they have never ceased to entertain of bringing back the 
South to its allegiance under the former conditions of the 
Union, an event which will be rendered impossible by any 
attempt to interfere with the existence of slavery. 

The North, with the exception of an inconsiderable mi- 

LETTER TO C. G., ESQ. 323 

nority of its inhabitants, has never been at all desirous of 
the emancipation of the slaves. The Democratic party, 
which has ruled the United States for many years past, 
has always been friendly to the slaveholders, who have, 
with few exceptions, been all members of it (for, by a 
strange perversion both of words and ideas, some of the 
most democratic states in the Union are Southern slave 
states, and in the part of Georgia where the slave popula- 
tion is denser than in any other part of the South, a county 
exists bearing the satirical title of Liberty County). And 
the support of the South has been given to the Northern 
Democratic politicians upon the distinct understanding 
that their " domestic institution" was to be guaranteed to 

The condition of the free blacks in the Northern states 
has of course been affected most unfavorably by the slav- 
ery of their race throughout the other half of the Union ; 
and, indeed, it would have been a difficult matter for 
Northern citizens to maintain toward the blacks an atti- 
tude of social and political equality as far as the borders 
of Delaware, while immediately beyond they were pledged 
to consider them as the a chattels" of their owners, ani- 
mals no more noble or human than the cattle in their 
masters' fields. 

How could peace have been maintained if the Southern 
slaveholders had been compelled to endure the sight of 
negroes rising to wealth and eminence in the Northern 
cities, or entering as fellow-members with themselves the 
halls of that Legislature to which all free-born citizens are 
eligible ? They would very certainly have declined with 
fierce scorn, not the fellowship of the blacks alone, but 
of those white men who admitted the despised race of 
their serfs to a footing of such impartial equality. It 
therefore was the instinctive, and became the deliberate 
policy of the Northern people, once pledged to maintain 

;5:M ArrENDix. 

slavery in the South, to make their task easy by degrad- 
ing the blacks in the Northern states to a condition con- 
trasting as little as possible with that of the Southern 
slaves. The Northern politicians struck hands with the 
Southern slaveholders, and the great majority of the most 
enlightened citizens of the Northern states, absorbed in 
the pursuit of wealth and the extension and consolidation 
of their admirable and wonderful national prosperity, 
abandoned the government of their noble country and the 
preservation of its nobler institutions to the slaveholding 
aristocracy of the South — to a mob of politicians by trade, 
the vilest and most venal class of men that ever disgraced 
and endangered a country — to foreign emigrants, whose 
brutish ignorance did not prevent the Democratic party 
from seizing upon them as voters, and bestowing on the 
Irish and German boors just landed on their shores the 
same political privileges as those possessed and intelli- 
gently exercised by the farmers and mechanics of New 
England, the most enlightened men of their class to be 
found in the world. 

The gradual encroachment of the Southern politicians 
upon the liberties of the North, by their unrelaxing influ- 
ence in Congress and over successive cabinets and presi- 
dents, was not without its effect in stimulating some re- 
sistance on the part of Northern statesmen of sufficient 
intelligence to perceive the inevitable results toward 
which this preponderance in the national councils was 
steadily tending ; and I need not remind you of the ra- 
pidity and force with which General Jackson quelled an 
incipient rebellion in South Carolina, when Mr. Calhoun 
made the tariff question the pretext for a threatened se- 
cession in 1832, of the life-long opposition to Southern 
pretensions by John Quincy Adams, of the endeavor of 
Mr. Clay to stem the growing evil by the conditions of 
the Missouri Compromise, and all the occasional attempts 

LETTER TO C. G., ESQ. 325 

of individuals of more conscientious convictions than their 
fellow-citizens on the subject of the sin of slavery, from 
Dr. Channing's eloquent protest on the annexation of 
Texas, to Mr. Charles Sumner's philippic against Mr. 
Brooks, of South Carolina. 

The disorganization of the Democratic party, after a 
cohesion of so many years, at length changed the aspect 
of affairs, and the North appeared to be about to arouse 
itself from its apathetic consent to Southern domination. 
The Republican party, headed by Colonel Fremont, who 
was known to be an anti-slavery man, nearly carried the 
presidential election six years ago, and then every prep- 
aration had been made in the South for the process of 
secession, which was only averted by the election of Mr. 
Buchanan, a pro-slavery Southern sympathizer, though 
born in Pennsylvania. Under his presidency, the South- 
ern statesmen, resuming their attitude of apparent friend- 
liness with the North, kept in abeyance, maturing and 
perfecting by every treasonable practice, for which their 
preponderating share in the cabinet afforded them facil- 
ities, the plan of the violent disruption of the Union, upon 
which they had determined whenever the Republican 
party should have acquired sufficient strength to elect a 
president with Northern views. Before, however, this 
event occurred, the war in Kansas rang a prophetic peal 
of warning through the land ; and the struggle there be- 
gun between New England emigrants bent on founding 
a free state, and Missouri border ruffians determined to 
make the new territory a slaveholdmg addition to the 
South, might have roused the whole North and West to 
the imminence of the peril by w T hich the safety of the 
Union was threatened. 

But neither the struggle in Kansas, nor the strange and 
piteous episode which grew out of it, of John Brown's 
attempt to excite an insurrection in Virginia, and his exe- 


cution by the government of that state, did more than 
startle the North with a nine days' wonder out of its 
apathetic indifference. The Republican party, it is true, 
gained adherents, and acquired strength by degrees ; and 
Mr. Buchanan's term of office approaching its expiration, 
it became apparent that the Democratic party was about 
to lose its supremacy, and the slaveholders their domin- 
ion ; and no sooner was this evident than the latter threw 
off the mask, and renounced their allegiance to the Union. 
In a day — in an hour almost — those stood face to face as 
mortal enemies who were citizens of the same country, 
subjects of the same government, children of the same 
soil ; and the North, incredulous and amazed, found it- 
self suddenly summoned to retrieve its lost power and 
influence, and assert the dignity of the insulted Union 
against the rebellious attempt of the South to overthrow 

But it was late for them to take that task in hand. 
For years the conduct of the government of the United 
States had been becoming a more desperate and degraded 
jobbery, one from which day by day the Northern gentle- 
men of intelligence, influence, and education withdrew 
themselves in greater disgust, devoting their energies to 
schemes of mere personal advantage, and leaving the 
commonweal with selfish and contemptuous indifference 
to the guidance of any hands less nice and less busy than 
their own. 

Nor w r ould the Southern planters — a prouder and more 
aristocratic race than the Northern merchants — have rel- 
ished the companionship of their fellow-politicians more 
than the latter, but their personal interests were at stake, 
and immediately concerned in their maintaining their pre- 
dominant influence over the government; and while the 
Boston men wrote and talked transcendentalism, and be- 
came the most accomplished of cestetische cotton-spinners 

LETTER TO C. G., ESQ. 327 

and railroad speculators, and made the shoes and cow- 
hides of the Southerners, the latter made their laws (I be- 
lieve New Jersey is really the great cowhide factorv) ; 
and the New York men, owners of the fastest horses and 
finest houses in the land, haying made a sort of Brum- 
magem Paris of their city, were the bankers and brokers 
of the Southerners, while the latter were the legislators. 

The grip the slaveholders had fastened on the helm of 
the state had been tightening for nearly half a century, 
till the government of the nation had become literally 
theirs, and the idea of their relinquishing it was one 
which the North did not contemplate, and they would 
not tolerate. 

If I have said nothing of the grievances which the South 
has alleged against the North — its tariff, made chiefly in 
the interest of the Northeastern manufacturing states, 
or its inconsiderable but enthusiastic Massachusetts and 
Pennsylvania Abolition party, it is because I do not be- 
lieve these causes of complaint would have had the same 
effect upon any but a community of slaveholders, men 
made impatient (by the life-long habit of despotism) not 
only of all control, but of any opposition. Thirty years 
ago Andrew Jackson — a man of keen sagacity as well as 
determined energy — wrote of them that they were bent 
upon destroying the Union, and that, whatever was the 
pretext of their discontent, that was their aim and pur- 
pose. " To-day," he wrote, " it is the tariff, by-and-by it 
will be slavery." The event has proved how true a 
prophet he was. My own conviction is that the national 
character produced and fostered by slaveholding is incom- 
patible with free institutions, and that the Southern aris- 
tocracy, thanks to the pernicious influences by which 
they are surrounded, are unfit to be members of a Chris- 
tian republic. It is slavery that has made the Southern- 
ers rebels to their government, traitors to their country, 


and the originators of the bloodiest civil war that ever 
disgraced humanity and civilization. It is for their sinful 
complicity in slavery, and their shameful abandonment of 
all their duties as citizens, that the Northerners are pay- 
ing in the blood of their men, the tears of their women, 
and the treasure which they have till now held more pre- 
cious than their birthright. They must now not merely 
impose a wise restriction upon slavery, they must be pre- 
pared to extinguish it. They neglected and despised the 
task of moderating its conditions and checking its growth ; 
they must now suddenly, in the midst of unparalleled dif- 
ficulties and dangers, be ready to deal summarily with its 
entire existence. They have loved the pursuit of personal 
prosperity and pleasure more than their country ; and 
now they must spend life and living to reconquer their 
great inheritance, and win back at the sword's point what 
Heaven had forbidden them to lose. Nor are we, here in 
England, without part in this tremendous sin and sorrow ; 
we have persisted in feeding our looms, and the huge 
wealth they coin, with the produce of slavery. In vain 
our vast Indian territory has solicited the advantage of 
becoming our free cotton plantation; neither our manu- 
facturers nor our government would venture, would wait, 
would spend or lose, for that purpose; the slave-grown 
harvest was ready, was abundant, was cheap — and now 
the thousand arms of our great national industry are 
folded in deplorable inactivity ; the countless hands that 
wrought from morn till night the wealth that was a 
world's wonder are stretched unwillingly to beg their 
bread ; and England has never seen a sadder sight than 
the enforced idleness of her poor operatives, or a nobler 
one than their patient and heroic endurance. 

And now you ask me what plan, what scheme, what 
project the government of the United States has formed 
for the safe and successful emancipation of four millions 

LETTER TO C. G., ESQ. 329 

of slaves, in the midst of a country distracted with all the 
horrors of war, and the male population of which is en- 
gaged in military service at a distance from their homes? 
Most assuredly none. Precipitated headlong from a state 
of apparent profound security and prosperity into a series 
of calamitous events which have brought the country to 
the verge of ruin, neither the nation or its governors have 
had leisure to prepare themselves for any of the disastrous 
circumstances they have had to encounter, least of all for 
the momentous change which the President's proclama- 
tion announces as imminent : a measure of supreme im- 
portance, not deliberately adopted as the result of philan- 
thropic conviction or far-sighted policy, but (if not a mere 
feint of party politics) the last effort of the incensed spirit 
of endurance in the North — a punishment threatened 
against rebels, whom they can not otherwise subdue, and 
which a year ago half the Northern population would 
have condemned upon principle, and more than half re- 
volted from on instinct. 

The country being in a state of war necessarily compli- 
cates every thing, and renders the most plausible sugges- 
tions for the settlement of the question of emancipation 
futile, because from first to last now it will be one tre- 
mendous chapter of accidents, instead of a carefully con- 
sidered and wisely prepared measure of government. 
But, supposing the war to have ceased, either by the suc- 
cess of the Northern arms or by the consent of both bel- 
ligerents, the question of manumission in the Southern 
states when reduced to the condition of territories or re- 
stored to the sway of their own elected governors and 
Legislatures, though difficult, is by no means one of insup- 
erable difficulty ; and I do not believe that a great nation 
of Englishmen, having once the will to rid itself of a dan- 
ger and a disgrace, will fail to find a way. The thing, 
therefore, most to be desired now is, that Americans may 


unanimously embrace the purpose of emancipation, and, 
though they have been reluctantly driven by the irresist- 
ible force of circumstances to contemplate the measure, 
may henceforward never avert their eyes from it till it is 

When I was in the South many years ago I conversed 
frequently with two highly intelligent men, both of whom 
agreed in saying that the immense value of the slaves as 
property was the only real obstacle to their manumission, 
and that whenever the Southerners became convinced that 
it was their interest to free them they would very soon find 
the means to do it. In some respects the conditions are 
more favorable than those we hadjto encounter in freeing 
our "West India slaves. Though the soil and climate of 
the Southern states are fertile and favorable, they are not 
tropical, and there is no profuse natural growth of fruits 
or vegetables to render subsistence possible without labor; 
the winter temperature is like that of the Roman States; 
and even as far south as Georgia and the borders of Flor- 
ida, frosts severe enough to kill the orange-trees are some- 
times experienced. The inhabitants of the Southern 
states, throughout by far the largest portion of their ex- 
tent, must labor to live, and will undoubtedly obey the be- 
neficent law of necessity whenever they are made to feel 
that their existence depends upon their own exertions. 
The plan of a gradual emancipation, preceded by a limited 
apprenticeship of the negroes to white masters, is of 
course often suggested as less dangerous than their entire 
and immediate enfranchisement. But when years ago I 
lived on a Southern plantation, and had opportunities of 
observing the miserable results of the system on every 
thing connected with it — the souls, minds, bodies, and es- 
tates of both races of men, and the very soil on which they 
existed together — I came to the conclusion that immedi- 
ate and entire emancipation was not only an act of imper- 

LETTER TO C. G., ESQ. 331 

ative right, but would be the safest and most profitable 
course for the interests of both parties. The gradual 
and inevitable process of ruin which exhibits itself in the 
long run on every property involving slavery, naturally 
suggests some element of decay inherent in the system ; 
the reckless habits of extravagance and prodigality in the 
masters, the ruinous wastefulness and ignorant incapacity 
of the slaves, the deterioration of the land under the ex- 
hausting and thriftless cultivation to which it is subjected, 
made it evident to me that there were but two means of 
maintaining a prosperous ownership in Southern planta- 
tions: either the possession of considerable capital where- 
with to recruit the gradual waste of the energies of the 
soil, and supply by all the improved and costly methods 
of modern agriculture the means of profitable cultivation 
(a process demanding, as English farmers know, an enor- 
mous and incessant outlay of both money and skill), or an 
unlimited command of fresh soil, to which the slaves might 
be transferred as soon as that already under culture ex- 
hibited signs of exhaustion. Now the Southerners are 
for the most part men whose only wealth is in their land 
and laborers — a large force of slaves is their most profit- 
able investment. The great capitalists and moneyed men 
of the country are Northern men ; the planters are men 
of large estates but restricted means : many of them are 
deeply involved in debt, and there are very few who do 
not depend from year to year for their subsistence on the 
harvest of their fields and the chances of the cotton and 
rice crops of each season. 

This makes it of vital importance to them to command 
an unrestricted extent of territory. The man who can 
move a " gang" of able-bodied negroes to a tract of vir- 
gin soil is sure of an immense return of wealth ; as sure 
as that he who is circumscribed in this respect, and limit- 
ed to the cultivation of certain lands with cotton or to- 


bacco by slaves, will in the course of a few years see his 
estate gradually exhausted and unproductive, refusing its 
increase, while its black population, propagating and mul- 
tiplying, will compel him eventually, under penalty of 
starvation, to make them his crop, and substitute, as the 
Virginians have been constrained to do, a traffic in human 
cattle for the cultivation of vegetable harvests. 

The steady decrease of the value of the cotton-crop, 
even on the famous sea-island plantations of Georgia, often 
suggested to me the inevitable ruin of the owners within 
a certain calculable space of time, as the land became worn 
out, and the negroes continued to increase in number ; 
and had the estate on which I lived been mine, and the 
law 3 of Georgia not made such an experiment impossible, 
I would have emancipated the slaves on it immediately, 
and turned them into a free tenantry, as the first means 
of saving my property from impending destruction. I 
would have paid them wages, and they should have paid 
me rent. I would have relinquished the charge of feed- 
ing and clothing them, and the burden of their old, young, 
and infirm ; in short, I would have put them at once upon 
the footing of free hired laborers. Of course such a pro- 
cess would have involved temporary loss, and for a year 
or two the income of the estate would, I dare say, have 
suffered considerably ; but, in all such diversions of labor 
or capital from old into new channels and modes of oper- 
ation, there must be an immediate sacrifice of present to 
future profit, and I do not doubt that the estate would 
have recovered from the momentary necessary interrup- 
tion of its productiveness, to resume it with an upward 
instead of a downward tendency, and a vigorous impulse 
toward progress and improvement substituted for the 
present slow but sure drifting to stagnation and decay. 

As I have told you, the land affords no spontaneous 
produce which will sustain life without labor. The ne- 

LETTER TO C. G., ESQ. 333 

groes, therefore, must work to eat ; they are used to the 
soil and climate, and accustomed to the agriculture, and 
there is no reason at all to apprehend — as has been sug- 
gested — that a race of people singularly attached to the 
place of their birth and residence would abandon in any 
large numbers their own country, just as the conditions 
of their existence in it were made more favorable, to try 
the unknown and (to absolute ignorance) forbidding risks 
of emigration to the sterner climate and harder soil of the 
Northern states. 

Of course, in freeing the slaves, it would be necessary 
to contemplate the possibility of their becoming eventual 
proprietors of the soil to some extent themselves. There 
is as little doubt that many of them would soon acquire 
the means of doing so (men who amass, during hours of 
daily extra labor, through years of unpaid toil, the means 
of buying themselves from their masters, would soon jus- 
tify their freedom by the intelligent improvement of their 
condition), as that many of the present landholders would 
be ready and glad to alienate their impoverished estates 
by parcels, and sell the land which has become compara- 
tively unprofitable to them, to its enfranchised cultivators. 
This, the future ownership of land by negroes, as well as 
their admission to those rights of citizenship which every 
where in America such ownership involves, would neces- 
sarily be future subjects of legislation ; and either or both 
privileges might be withheld temporarily, indefinitely, or 
permanently, as might seem expedient, and the progress 
in civilization which might justify such an extension of 
rights. These, and any other modifications of the state 
of the black population in the South, would require great 
wisdom to deal with, but their immediate transformation 
from bondsmen to free might, I think, be accomplished 
with little danger or difficulty, and with certain increase 
of prosperity to the Southern states. 


On the other hand, it is not impossible that, left to the 
unimpeded action of the natural laws that govern the ex- 
istence of various races, the black population, no longer 
directly preserved and propagated for the purposes of 
slavery, might gradually decrease and dwindle, as it does 
at the North, where, besides the unfavorable influence of 
a cold climate on a race originally African, it suffers from 
its admixture with the whites, and the amalgamation of 
the two races, as far as it goes, tends evidently to the 
destruction of the weaker. The Northern mulattoes are 
an unhealthy, feeble population, and it might yet appear 
that even under the more favorable influence of a South- 
ern climate, whenever the direct stimulus afforded by 
slavery to the increase of the negroes was removed, their 
gradual extinction or absorption by the predominant 
white race would follow in the course of time. 

But the daily course of events appears to be rendering 
more and more unlikely the immediate effectual enfran- 
chisement of the slaves: the President's proclamation will 
reach w r ith but little eflicacy beyond the mere borders of 
the Southern states. The war is assuming an aspect of 
indefinite duration; and it is difficult to conceive what 
will be the condition of the blacks, freed dejure but by no 
means de facto, in the vast interior regions of the South- 
ern states, as long as the struggle raging all round their 
confines does not penetrate within them. Each of the 
combatants is far too busily absorbed in the furious strife 
to afford thought, leisure, or means either effectually to 
free the slaves or effectually to replace them in bondage ; 
and, in the mean time, their condition is the worst possi- 
ble for the future success of either operation. If the 
North succeeds in subjugating the South, its earliest busi- 
ness will be to make the freedom of the slaves real as well 
as nominal, and as little injurious to themselves as possi- 
ble. If, on the other hand, the South makes good its pre- 

LETTER TO C. G., ESQ. 335 

tensions to a separate national existence, no sooner will 
the disseverment of the Union be an established fact than 
the slaveholders will have to consolidate once more the 
system of their "peculiar institution," to reconstruct the 
prison which has half crumbled to the ground, and rivet 
afresh the chains which have been all but struck off. 
This will be difficult : the determination of the North to 
restrict the area of slavery by forbidding its ingress into 
future territories and states has been considered by the 
slaveholders a wrong, and a danger justifying a bloody 
civil war; inasmuch as, if under those circumstances 
they did not abolish slavery themselves in a given num- 
ber of years, it would infallibly abolish them by the in- 
crease of the negro population, hemmed with them into 
a restricted space by this cordon sanitaire drawn round 
them. But, bad as this prospect has seemed to slave- 
holders (determined to continue such), and justifying — 
as it may be conceded that it does from their point of 
view — not a ferocious civil war, but a peaceable separa- 
tion from states whose interests were declared absolute- 
ly irreconcilable with theirs, the position in which they 
will find themselves if the contest terminates in favor of 
secession will be undoubtedly more difficult and terrible 
than the one the mere anticipation of which has driven 
them to the dire resort of civil war. All round the South- 
ern coast, and all along the course of the great Mississippi, 
and all across the northern frontier of the slave states, the 
negroes have already thrown off the trammels of slavery. 
Whatever their condition maybe — and doubtless, in many 
respects, it is miserable enough — they are to all intents 
and purposes free. Vast numbers of them have joined the 
Northern invading armies, and considerable bodies of 
them have become organized as soldiers and laborers, un- 
der the supervision of Northern officers and employers ; 
most of them have learned the use of arms, and possess 


them ; all of them have exchanged the insufficient slave 
diet of grits aud rice for the abundant supplies of animal 
food, which the poorest laborer in that favored land of 
cheap provisions and high wages indulges in to an extent 
unknown in any other country. None of these slaves of 
yesterday will be the same slaves to-morrow. Little es- 
sential difference as may yet have been effected by the 
President's proclamation in the interior of the South in 
the condition of the blacks, it is undoubtedly known to 
them, and they are waiting in ominous suspense its ac- 
complishment or defeat by the fortune of the war ; they 
are watching the issue of the contest of which they well 
know themselves to be the theme, and at its conclusion, 
end how it will, they must be emancipated or extermina- 
ted. With the North not only not friendly to slavery, 
but henceforward bitterly hostile to slaveholders, and no 
more to be reckoned upon as heretofore, it might have 
been infallibly by the Southern white population in any 
difficulty with the blacks (a fact of which the negroes wi l l 
be as well aware as their former masters) — with an invis- 
ible boundary stretching from ocean to ocean, over which 
they may fly without fear of a master's claim following 
them a single inch — with the hope and expectation of lib- 
erty suddenly snatched from them at the moment it seem- 
ed within their grasp — with the door of their dungeon 
once more barred between them and the light into which 
they were in the act of emerging, is it to be conceived 
that these four millions of people, many thousands of 
whom are already free and armed, will submit without a 
struggle to be again thrust down into the hell of slavery? 
Hitherto there has been no insurrection among the ne- 
groes, and observers friendly and inimical to them have 
alike drawn from that fact conclusions unfavorable to their 
appreciation of the freedom apparently within their grasp; 
but they are waiting to see what the North will really 

LETTER TO C. G., ESQ. 337 

achieve for them. The liberty offered them is hitherto 
anomalous, and uncertain enough in its conditions ; they 
probably trust it as little as they know it; but slavery 
they do know ; and when once they find themselves again 
delivered over to that experience, there will not be one 
insurrection in the South — there will be an insurrection in 
every state, in every county, on every plantation — a strug- 
gle as fierce as it will be futile — a hopeless effort of hope- 
less men, which will baptize in blood the new American 
nation, and inaugurate its birth among the civilized soci- 
eties of the earth, not by the manumission, but the massa- 
cre of every slave within its borders. 

Perhaps, however, Mr. Jefferson Davis means to free 
the negroes. Whenever that consummation is attained, 
the root of bitterness will have perished from the land; 
and when a few years shall have passed, blunting the ha- 
tred which has been excited by this fratricidal strife, the 
Americans of both the Northern and Southern states will 
perceive that the selfish policy of other nations would not 
have so rejoiced over their division, had it not seemed, to 
those who loved them not, the proof of past failure and 
the prophecy of future weakness. 

Admonished by its terrible experiences, I believe the 
nation will reunite itself under one government, remodel 
its Constitution, and again address itself to fulfill its glo- 
rious destiny. I believe that the country sprung from 
ours — of all our just subjects of national pride the great- 
est — will resume its career of prosperity and power, and 
become the noblest as well as the mightiest that has ex- 
isted among the nations of the earth. 





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